Tag Archives: egg

Look what I found!

Digging around in the barn for something I decided to see what was in the loft and lo & behold look what I found!

What is this thingy?

What is this thingy?

It's a brooder!

It’s a brooder!

And it works!!

And it works!!

I had been using my Sweety, Karen’s, bird hospital cubicles as both hatcher and brooder. This practice had led me to rush my chicks into the juvenile pen after 2 or 3 weeks in order to avoid complaints about the odor. Now I can set up this brooder in the office of the new house for this season and then find it a permanent location when we move up the hill. I do need to figure out exactly how to set it up properly, temperature I get but this has a curtain that I ain’t quite sure what purpose it serves.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

This find couldn’t have come at a better time. The half dozen eggs in the second row up from the bottom go into lockdown this friday, the next half dozen just above go into lockdown 3 days later, and finally the outer two rows go in a 4 days later. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks I’ll have a brooder full of fluffy butts and an empty incubator ready for the Cream Legbar’s and Basque hatching eggs Karen is teasing me with AGAIN.

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Rooster Reduction

My whining about lack of egg-production and repeated Ah Hah posts about finally figuring out the root cause of the issue has been a recurrent theme for about the last 6 months on my blog. This month I am blaming it on to damn many Roosters! ImageA large group of my hens had been hiding in the Hen House and looking pretty sad. So I decided they needed some fresh air and tossed em out into the run, boy oh boy did I find out quick why they were hiding! Chicken Orgy, them damn Roosters chased the poor girls down and lined up taking turns going for “piggy back rides” as my granddaughter Alexa called it.ImageIt was past time to cull some Roos, and no I still ain’t worked myself up to “completing the circle” and putting meat on the table. The intention was to pull out all of the Barnyard Mutts and take em to the feed store. ImageAs you can see there were a couple BCM x Production Red crosses and then BCM x Easter Eggers. I thought I had gotten down to 2 BCM, 1 White Cochin, and 1 GCM for a total of 4 roosters, the other 5 went to the feed store where I got a bag of lay pellets and a crisp $5 bill. A couple days later I realize there was some crowing goin on in the Hen House and discovered that the White Sport GCM wasn’t a hen after all.Image

Three days later and I’ve gotten 6 eggs a day 2 days in a row! Image

I’m not crowing yet though, we have been hit with a hard freeze that is supposed to continue for the next 3 days which will probably knock down my egg production again.Image

My two favorite hens, my sweety Karen and my cutie pie Alexa.Image

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Egg Sucking Bastard

All summer long I was on the hunt for which of my chickens was eatin eggs. In fact I got just a tad obsessive about it here on my blog, first in July with my pie in the sky hopes of “Caught the Bastard” continued with “Update Schmupdate” culminating in a little self examination in “Focus” . Well I’m off my meds and back on the trail of them damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards! This time I decided to go high tech and called up my BFF Hoss for advice.

Top of the line Game Cam

Top of the line Game Cam

Isn't Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That's his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Isn’t Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That’s his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Good ole Hoss knew just what was needed, a Moutrie MFH-DGS-D55IRxt is just the ticket he says. For a small consideration he hooked me up and man-o-man what a story that sweet little machine painted! It was a snap to set up and was I ever amazed when I uploaded those pictures.

 

 

 

 

Coop in the Daytime

Coop in the Daytime

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Coming up empty again!

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Dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Golden Cuckoo Marans rooster Checkin things out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far everything is normal, no eggs, but normal…..Then:

I think I may have found the problem

I think I may have found the problem

Is there anything in there?

Is there anything in there?

 

Could be

Could be

 

Chomp Chomp

Chomp Chomp

 

Oh the Arrogance!

Oh the Arrogance!

So I think maybe technology may have won out again, I had been fooled for months by this evil critter blaming everyone and everything that came to mind. Is this the end of my quest in pursuit of those Damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards? Probably not, I’ve thought I had them whupped before but they just came back at me from another direction.

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Steam Triumphs over Modern Technology!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post about boiling fresh eggs, I have hunted diligently for that post so I could link to it here but ain’t had no luck. Anyone that has chickens has run into the age-old issue of cooking hard-boiled eggs, FRESH eggs just wont peel after being boiled! It is frustrating. irritating, and ultimately enlightening. I don’t understand all of the science and ain’t got the motivation to look it up, but suffice it to say that if you leave your FRESH eggs in the fridge uncovered for 3-4 weeks they will boil up and peel fairly well. The older they are the better, what does that say about store bought eggs?!!!!! They are all labeled “farm fresh” but they sure peel good even straight from the store!

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I had read all sorts of sure-fire process’ that are guaranteed to make your FRESH eggs peel reliably after cooking. In the past I had tried most of the ones using traditional egg in boiling water techniques, lots of salt, baking soda, vinegar, starting with cold water and rapidly chilling when done, cracking the shell once the water came to a boil to name some of the most popular. None worked reliably for me. Recently I had read that steaming your eggs worked like a charm so today I decided to find out. Additionally my wife had bought some funky device called “Eggies” for boiling eggs outside of the shells, she insisted I try them so I ran a head to head test to compare the methods.

The Software: 11 FRESH eggs (less than a week old)

The Hardware: Karen’s “Eggies” kit on the Left and a Pot, Colander, and Lid on the right.

For the Steaming method I put the colander in the pot and put enough water in to leave about a 1/2″ of space between the water and the bottom of the colander. The pot was put on the stove and brought to a full boil, then I placed seven eggs in the colander, placed the lid on, and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer went off only 1 had cracked egg. I separated them and left 3 to cool on the counter while the other 4 went into ice water.

Next I proceeded to set up the Eggies, What a pain in the ASS! After thoroughly reading the instructions, I cleaned the cups, lubed them, assembled them, then carefully cracked an egg into each of the 4 cups. They were then sealed, placed in the pot which was filled with warm water and put on the stove. When the water came to a boil I reduced the heat to a gentle boil and set the timer for 15 minutes as suggested by the chart on the back of the instructions. All went well which then led into the peeling and evaluation phase.

These are the steamed eggs after peeling. The shells slipped right off of the warm and chilled eggs alike.Above are the eggies after boiling, cooling, and opening. As you can see I broke the yolk on one of the eggs while filling the cups, that was my fault, I had forgotten how tough the membrane in duck eggs can be!Based on the results I would have to admit that both steaming and Eggies create a hard “boiled” egg that peels easily. But if you take into account the effort put into each method along with the aesthetics of the finished product Steaming wins hands down! The original recipe I read for steaming eggs said to steam them for 20 minutes but then I read several posts on the forums at Backyardchickens.com that claimed excessive cracking at that length of time and recommended cutting the time in half. More posts reported slight undercooking at the 10 minute mark, I like HARD boiled eggs with no iridescence left in the yolk but no green ring either, so I settled on 15 minutes and got perfectly cooked eggs with only one cracked.

I highly encourage all of my fellow backyard chicken owners to give steaming eggs a try and start enjoying easy to peel hard boiled eggs again!

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Remodel

In my ongoing battle against the evil egg-eaters infesting my flock I engaged in a remodeling project of the hen house today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the nest boxes have been relocated and raised, as shown above there are now boxes on both walls instead of just along the one. The two blue ones are new, I’m hoping that their deep dark interiors will be less inviting to Nosy Nora’s looking for a snack. One of my White Cochin’s were caught pecking at golf balls in one of the relocated nests, she is now in isolation over in the Juvenile Pen. Ironically “isolation” is filling up quickly, along with the three hens I have caught red-handed pecking eggs there are four hens that were hanging out in the hen-house looking just a little to guilty and three “hens” that are in fact roosters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This “fancy pullet” that Karen picked up from a feed store in Escondido was busy fighting with the criminals in lockup today, I’m not expecting “her” to start laying anytime soon. The pretty red hen on the right is very sweet but she ended up in lockup because she shows a bit to much interest in the nest boxes. For some reason my egg production in lockup has been very high, 5-6 a day, while in the hen-house I’m still lucky to get 1 and usually find 4-5 broken ones. That is what prompted me to change things around, I’m thinking that for some reason the new environment in lockup is breaking the egg breaking habit.

Karen has sucked Alexa into the baby nurturing obsession! Karen is already trying to subtly trying to inoculate me to the idea of her keeping that little baby African Grey, she thinks she’s being sly getting Lexi involved and oohing and awing over it’s white toes. Apparently that is some kind of significant genetic marker, it looks like alopecia to me. Her teeny tiny Quaker that she rescued is still hanging in there, it’s siblings are twice as large but Karen tells me that is due to the parents feeding them more frequently than she does.

Today was a good day, watching Karen share something she loves with our Granddaughter Alexa was a great start and even though it’s very muggy here a day working with my chooks is always a good day!

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Caught the Bastard……I think

My egg production had dropped precipitously, 3 weeks ago I was collecting a dozen a day then it dropped to only 1 or 2 eggs a day seemingly overnight. For a while I just ignored it thinking that it was the heat. Last weekend it penetrated my thick skull that there were eggshell pieces in the litter inside the coop, I got an Egg Eater!! What to do? 

I rounded up the usual suspects, these three are always malingering in the hen house just looking guilty so Wham! They went into the juvenile pen. What happened? Three eggs in the little pet carrier the quail hide in inside the juvenile pen but only 1 egg in the henhouse and no telltale shells in the litter.

So I targeted the shifty looking ones next. Brian, one of my trusted minions, was sent on a midnight raid to round them up. This group consisted of the remaining three easter eggers. Did this rectify the problem? NO!! All it did was add some green eggs to the daily hoard in the quail box! What to do? Run a sting operation, Thats What!

Yesterday while planting my new fruiting Mulberry Trees, I note “fruiting” here because fruitless Mulberry Trees have been outlawed in Las Vegas, I placed 2 chicken eggs from the quail box into one of the nest boxes in the henhouse. There was also one egg in a nest in the corner of the henhouse that I left alone due to the fact that there was one very angry duck sitting on it. I kept my eye on the bait box, kinda like a bait car for chickens, while doing my chores in the orchard but other than a couple of nosy Nora’s nothing happened. I collected the eggs from the nest box and left the angry duck to her sitting.

This morning I went back up to water my Mulberry Tree’s and Comfrey plants that I set out yesterday. Additionally I had potted up a couple of trimmings from the Mulberry’s and some Oldham Bamboo culms that I am hoping will root that need a drink. When I checked the henhouse the angry duck was gone as was her egg! I looked but couldn’t find any shells around nor did any of the nest boxes contain any eggs. In the juvenile pen were three eggs in the quail box, so i reset the trap just like yesterday. I had a big black sex-link hen that was hovering around watching me, so I made an unsuccessful attempt to catch her but then promptly forgot her. After starting the hose I went up to the house to fill the surge tank and got sucked into fixing the dryer for my sons fiancé.

That took about a half hour and when I got back down to the orchard what do I see? A big black feathered butt stickin out of the baited nest box! Hurrying into the henhouse I grabbed the hen and sure enough it was the same black sex-link, and in the nest box was a freshly pecked open egg.

Now I have a confirmed egg-eater on lockdown in the juvenile pen. Only time will tell if this problem has spread to the other girls in my flock but for now I’m hopeful that the main culprit has been uncovered. If my egg production in the henhouse goes back up this week I plan on releasing the earlier suspects one at a time back into the general population. Those girls ain’t off the hook yet though, they’re gonna have to prove their innocence before a full reprieve from the Santa Ria priest is given! As to the fate of the one I caught red-handed, or should I say yellow-beaked, maybe my minion and I will try our hand at butchering our first chicken. One things for sure she is not going back into my chicken yard!

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