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Archive for the ‘chickens’ Category

Today i killed a chicken.

In chickens, Hand-made life on February 10, 2013 at 15:42

For the most part we don’t eat meat. I am less picky than Ben. I will eat something containing chicken broth or bits of chicken if someone i know has made it for me, mostly soup. I prefer not to, but if it is what the meal is i will probably eat it. We do not buy or prepare meat for ourselves. That being said we keep chickens for eggs.
In Seattle we can own 8 chickens. And while 8 chickens lay more eggs than 3 people should eat, i do a lot of baking so more eggs are always nice, and sometimes i need to bribe the neighbors. I realized that at some point, when the chickens stopped laying, i would need to figure out what to do with them. It would be great if there was some retirement home for elderly chickens, but there isn’t really. And i feel it is my responsibility. While i know that i would have issues eating my own chickens (it took me a few weeks before i could eat their eggs), i am not opposed to someone eating them.
Most of the people i would give the chicken to for eating would not really be up to preparing the chicken, so i felt that it was something i had to learn. That coupled with the fact that sometimes chickens get sick or injured and the best thing is to help end their pain. We decided before we got chickens that they would not be going for doctors visits, so we would need to figure out how to handle the situation ourselves. So i took a class.

I got back about 30 mins ago. My hands have been washed 5 times with soap and hot water, but they still smell slightly of freshly killed chicken. I did not bring my own chicken to cull, but someone in the class was kind enough to let me cull one of their chickens. It was a lot easier than i thought it would be. Of course that might have something to do with it being someone else’s chicken. I held the chicken for a while to calm it down. Then i lowered it into a cone and pulled its head through the hole in the other side. The chicken was really calm, and still. Slit, and drain. Once the blood stopped dripping you take the bird and dip it in scolding soapy water for about 10 dips to loosen up the feathers. After that the feather came off very easily. Strangely enough i found it more difficult to gut the dead bird than i found to cut its throat, but i did it. It was a good learning experience. I do not wish to do it often but i now know that i can do it if it needs to be done.

What can happen in a month?

In chickens, sickness, thoughts on December 16, 2012 at 13:47

I still have too many apples to process.
I pickled a lot of beets.
Armand started vomiting poop.
Armand had surgery to remove an obstruction in his small intestine.
Armand hates the hospital stay and all the tubes they kept reinserting when he ripped them out.
Ben and I spent 10 days sleeping on a tiny bed at the hospital, our backs still have not recovered.
Lydia, our blue egg laying chicken, died.
I had my first pet funeral that did not involve a toilet, and now wonder whatever happened to my dog when it died.

We are almost back to normal, whatever that is.

Chicken run redux

In chickens, Hand-made life on April 2, 2012 at 05:54

Remeber this…?
chicken run frame This structure took us probably 3 weeks to do since we only got to work on it for a few hours each weekend. Last weekend we decided this was never going to work. We took it down, and started over.

Today we basicly finished this!
the chicken shack We need to put some hard wire cloth on the bottom to make it rat proof, but the chickens can spend time in it during the day. I found some plexiglass on the side of the road near our place and decided it would make a wonderful roof to keep out the rain and let in the light. YAY! It feels great to finally be done this, now i can get my garden ready and not worry about the chickens eating or scratching up the starts.

Mini Loaves and mini eggs

In chickens, Hand-made life on March 29, 2012 at 00:29

I found some mini Le Creuset oval shapped dutch ovens at Goodwill. I didn’t need mini dutch ovens, but they were only $3 each so i had to get them. All 4 cost less than 1 would have cost new, and these were completely unused! I made some mini loaves of bread in them. They turned out ok, i forgot to grease them so the bread got a little stuck, but other than that yay.

mini bread

mini dutch ovens

In other news all 4 chickens are laying. Last week we got a 4th soft shelled egg that didn’t make it out of the nesting box, but today i found a tiny 4th egg waiting for me. We have over a dozen eggs now. We will have to start eating more eggs, and maybe ill give some to the neighbors.

Eggs, eggs, and more eggs.

In chickens, Hand-made life on March 22, 2012 at 22:26

We now officially do not need to buy eggs from the store! The chickens have gifted us with 15 eggs so far. Yesterday they gave us 3 in one day. We don’t go through eggs that fast since we mostly eat them for breakfast on the weekends and for baking. I do a lot of vegan baking though so whatever the chickens give us will most likely be enough. At least 3 of the chickens are laying, and one is laying every day.I was sure Tilling was the one who was not laying since we have not seen any of the rich dark chocolate brown eggs she Cuckoo Marans are known for. But i caught her in the nesting box yesterday so i have no idea now. But we are thankful for the eggs. Thank you chickies!

Today the chickens are 6months old, and I am 33.

In chickens on March 12, 2012 at 05:10

Today is my 33rd birthday, and the chickens are 6 months old. Happy birthday to me, and keep the eggs coming chickies.

Hilly Hilly (I think she started laying eggs first)

Granger Granger


Irwin Irwin (Its possible that she is the first layer, though its probably Hilly)

chicken run frame

In chickens on March 11, 2012 at 22:00

chicken run frame by Quinnwick
chicken run frame, a photo by Quinnwick on Flickr.

Almost finished. Just need to put the door on and cover everything with hard wire cloth. Sounds easy but reaching 8 feet up is kind of hard. and im scared of the ladder.

…And with that i present to you: the chickens’ first egg.

In chickens on March 11, 2012 at 02:56


I knew this day was coming soon. Right now the chickens are allowed to run around the yard for a few hours each day. I did not want to have to go searching under bushes and trees for eggs, so we decided to finally build them a run. We have been trying to build this thing for a few weeks now. Its taking us longer than it should because we only get a few hours each week to work on it, and we both had conflicting ideas about how we should go about constructing such a structure. In the end my plan won out, if only because i insisted it was the only one that would work. Building anything is way out of our skill set, mostly because we do not have any tools. We bought a bunch of wood and some screws. The plan was to build something that was easy to take apart so that we could move it with us when we left this rental house. We tried desperately to put screws in, but they kept getting stripped by the power drill, and even a manual screwdriver. I;m not sure what this wood had against screws but after having to remove 5 of them we gave up and switched to nails. We argued. We yelled, at the wood, at the nails, at the hard wire cloth, and at each other. As it turns out building things is stressful, and hard. Today we managed to put together the last of the walls, and attach all the walls to each other. We just need to finish putting the hard wire cloth on, and attaching the run to the coop. That will have to wait until next weekend though. I wanted to push for getting it done today but we were wet from the rain and very tired, and it was getting dark.

Snow covered coop jan 2012

In chickens, photos on January 18, 2012 at 18:31

Snow covered coop by Quinnwick
Snow covered coop, a photo by Quinnwick on Flickr.

We have probably like 5″ or 6″ of snow at our house. The chickens don’t understand what is happening and have retreated to the inside of their coop. I had to move their food and water up to them because they refuse to come down since the snow started creeping into the inclosure. They have a nice light in their coop, and are playing in their nesting boxes, and their sand box ( yes.. my chickens have a sandbox)

The New Cast.

In chickens, family, thoughts on November 1, 2011 at 17:00

I used to write here a lot. But then life got a bit more complicated and time got a bit too short and then i realized id forgotten to post about what was happening. And so you no longer know the full cast of players.

Almost a year ago you met Ben. Ben is a music nerd. He is very sweet and caring, but memory is to his brain as water is to a sieve. Oh, and he has the polar opposite of fashion sense. I’d like to blame this on his inability to distinguish the color blue from purple or shades of green, but then i would just be lying to myself. But lucky for us both, my taste in fashion is also questionable, as is my taste in friends. Somehow we work, and while there has been no official ceremony or legal documents, for all intents and purposes we are married.

With Ben comes one 13 year old son, Armand. Armand is a free spirit. He loves animals. He likes to bounce on trampolines, read books, watch tv. He loves school, and is obsessed with using the paper shredder. Armand is also autistic, and he can not talk. Life with Armand is difficult at times. I’d like to say that he means well, but the truth is that i don’t really know. I do know that his brain doesn’t work the way that my brain does. We are often both at a loss with understanding the other. But we try.

Then there is me of course. I mean well but i can become quite obsessed with the idea of something and then it takes me a while to amend my thinking, motivations, and actions to something else. But i usually get what i want eventually. Right now i am pretty determined to become more self sufficient. The urban farm i’m planing in my head is off to a start.

In mid September i got a peeping box in the mail. Inside there were 4 cute little chicks. I had set out to get chicks that all were different but in the end i ended up getting 3 that looked very similar and one that looks drastically different. I named her Granger. Granger is a Speckled Sussex. She is my favorite. She is very friendly. But she also insist on scratching everything until it is a mangled mess. This would be fine normally but she keeps filling the water with wood shavings or news paper.But we cope. Hilly is a Plymouth Barred Rock. She is ok with people, but isn’t nearly as friendly as Granger, though she isn’t anywhere near as messy. I also have an Austrolorp named Erwin. She started out being very skeptical of people, but the other day she flew over and sat in my lap. Since then she has been more open to allowing me to pick her up. And last we have Tilling. Tilling is a Silver Cuckoo Maran. She followed Erwin’s lead and doesn’t enjoy being picked up so much. The chickens are still young. 7 weeks at the moment. They wont start lay eggs until february or march. Right now i’m just hoping none of them is a rooster, but knowing my luck if anyone is.. its probably Granger.