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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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When does then become now and vise-versa?

When your putting a little bit into a project on a regular basis you can lose track of progress. I lost a hen last night, not to anything scary or alarming, she fell into the duck pond and drowned simple as that. I’m not sure how she joined my little circus but I do know that she contributed in her own way and now there’s room for more. That’s what struck me when I found her this morning, six months ago losing a hen would piss me off! Thomas, the devious son, and I had a major rupture in our relationship over a chicken killing dog. That episode finally drove it into my thick head that animals are gonna behave like animals whether they are pets or livestock. We as their keepers have a responsibility to take care of them. The reality of that episode was that I wasn’t being a responsible chicken keeper by letting them free range on a 1/2 acre sub-urban lot, and Thomas wasn’t being fair to Michone (his Husky puppy) by just letting her run free on that same lot. We both blamed each other and felt as if the other had let us down but the truth was that we had both failed in our responsibilities to our animals. The hen I lost last night was an accident, nothing more, it was not a judgement on my skills and the realization that losing livestock to accidents is part of having livestock is something that I needed to learn.

The following pictures are from earlier this year when the trees were just going in and it was all one big space with chickens and ducks running everywhere. I thought I had everything all figured out and it was gonna run like clockwork.

 

 

Then came the itch of all of that nice ground between my fruit trees. From somewhere the idea for sunken beds came along, which eventually morphed into half-assed huglekulture beds. My head is filled even more now with ideas to squeeze even more outta my little 1/8 of an acre.

 

 

Things started greening up, more ideas formed and then surprises started showing up. Low and Behold maybe some of this stuff is gonna work! And most of all it feels good doing it, even on a miserable monsoony 114 degree August afternoon, I look forward to working in my orchard/chicken corral/garden.

 

 

I’ve come to realize that old ideas inspire new ideas and working through a problem really does require work. But the fruits of that labor, be it a fence that helps create harmony with your son, goofy nest boxes and separation that bring eggs to the table, or patience that helps develop a new friendship, is what life is really all about.

 

 

And then their are Black Copper Marans Roosters! Is anybody looking for one? or maybe 2 or 3?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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