Friday, November 19, 2010

Hens on Strike

This year it seems like my girls' egg production stopped earlier and more abruptly, and I am bummed about it. I actually had to break down and buy eggs! And even the "cage-free, vegetarian, organic omega-3" eggs literally pale in comparison. The kids noticed the difference right away.

Referring to her plate of scrambled eggs, Liv asked "Mom, why are these eggs so white?!"

"Because they're from the store, bunny."

"Oh yeah. Ew."

Unfortunately, I'll have to keep buying eggs for baking, but I think we're off the scrambled eggs until our hennies are up and running again.

Has anyone else had their hens ever stop laying so early and so abruptly? I know that I could probably get them going again if I put a light in the coop, but I really don't want to do that.

Are there any Olympia-area peeps out there that have any GOOD eggs for sale???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Postcards from Camp

Dear Mom & Dad-

Hay! Just wanted to send you some pictures from camp. I'm having fun, but I can't wait to get home on Sunday! I miss you guys. I miss my brothers. I even miss the tiny, noisy little two-leggers that you sometimes send to feed me. But things are going well here. I've already made a friend!

This is a pic of me and my friend Scout. Actually we might be more than friends. I think he likes me!

Anyway, see you on Sunday. Say "hay" to Spike and Arch for me.


Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

Gertie-girl took her little trip to Scout's place last night, where she'll stay until Sunday. The whole fam-damnily is going when we pick her up so that we can all meet Gert's fella and check out what a larger-scale, goat-centric family farm looks like.

I hope she's doing ok. Bill said that she mehh'd like crazy when he left her. Poor girl probably thinks she's been re-homed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our boys are a mess.

Normally when I go to feed, they see me a mile away and start milling around and jumping up on the fence and meh-ing their fool heads off. Today, nothing. In fact, they didn't even bother to drag their butts out of the goathouse until after I was already in the pen. This is totally unheard of behavior for them. I poured their sweet feed into their dishes, and they lazily ambled over to nibble, not devour as usual. My poor little men are depressed!

I wish I could reassure them that their herd Queen was not gone for good, but just on a little field trip. I think I'm just going to have to go heavy on the sugar cubes and butt scratches until our little lady returns.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Very Goaty Honeymoon

Bill is heading out with Gertie momentarily, destined for Enumclaw and the pen of a fine young buck named Scout.

Let me tell you that when you go to Petsmart and ask for help finding a kennel suitable for holding a small goat, you get a few weird looks along the way. I'm getting used to it. ;)

I feel as sure as I can be that Gert is in heat without ever having had any experience with menstruating goats. I guess we'll give it a go and see what happens. Now would probably be a good time for me to read up on how to determine in your doe is pregnant. Looks like we're flying by the seat of out pants once again. Wish us luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Matchmaker, matchmaker...

...make Gertie a match! We think we've found a suitable young man for our Gert-Gert. Ladies and Gentlemen, the dashing, Scout.

Young Mr. Scout is a one-year-old Nigerian Dwarf buck. I LOOOVE his gorgeous milk chocolate color and his blue-blue eyes. Won't he and the Gertster have pretty babies? :) Just to clarify, we won't be buying Scout, rather Gertie will spend a romantic weekend at his place, and hopefully come back to us with babies on board.

If all goes well, and Gertie has her babies this coming Spring, by late Spring or early Summer we could have chèvre! And soap, lotion, cajeta! and eventually Tommes and Parmesan, maybe ....

No pressure, Gertie, but if you could put yourself in like a super-fertile mindspace, mama would really appreciate it. And Scout probably wouldn't complain either.

Mother &%$#@&* Raccoons!

The bastards got poor Georgie. :(

We found a pile of feathers out on the edge of the bog with some raccoon scat nearby. Bill has just set the humane traps out, three of them. I hope that we've caught our perp by tomorrow morning so that we can all sleep a little better tomorrow night.

I am so bummed about losing George. He was as sweet as can be and so loyal to his Gracie. We are consoled knowing that George no doubt laid down his life protecting his girl, as a good rooster should. I only wish that if we had to lose him, that we could have bred him first, since he was so pretty and had such a sweet temperament.

Rest in Peace, sweet Georgie. Your girls are locked up extra tight tonight and Daddy's got blood in his eye for that raccoon. You will be avenged!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Mystery of the Unflappable 13

Chickens come and chickens go, but somehow, we always seem to have thirteen of them. It's starting to get a little spooky. Like, if I buy another hen, is somebody going to bite the dust? :(

Since "the babies" (nine of them) hatched this past May and joined our "big girls", our flock has numbered lucky number 13 near constantly. We were up to fourteen for about a week when Grammy J gave us Miss Cotton the white Cochin, but then our poor, ill-fated, Eglantine wandered into the road and brought us back down to thirteen.

Then the bad boys began their reign of terror and nearly killed a couple of the big girls with their aggressiveness and had to go bye-bye. The same day the Scout and Harold rode away in a box toward their new home in someones freezer, Grammy J came up for a visit and brought us two gorgeous golden-laced Polishes, a hen and a rooster, Gracie & King George, respectively, bringing us right back up to thirteen again.

George & Gracie, sittin' in a tree...

The Polish pair are quite a site. George looks like he's suffered an electrical shock with his bolt-upright crest and spazzy-flighty manner, while sweet Miss Gracie appears to be nearly blinded by her foofy crest, venturing out only sheepishly, and never far from George. We haven't had any eggs from Grace yet, but when she does lay, they are supposed to be white, which will thankfully differentiate them from our other big girls' eggs.

We are looking forward to building our new big coop shortly, featuring a few honeymoon suites for our "fancy" breeds. Georgie & Gracie will get the first spin in the love nest to hopefully give us some fertile eggs for incubating. I'd just as soon let Gracie do things the old fashioned way, but it is an unfortunate fact that Polish hens are not good sitters (they seem to have a very high-strung temperament), and so, after a week or so of alone time, I will start squirrelling away Gracie's eggs until I have half a dozen or so to incubate. I can't wait - baby Polishes are CRAZY cute!

In addition to breeding a few (or God willing, MANY) of our own, we're going to order a few more chickies from the hatchery this spring also. Let us hope that somewhere along the line that the curse of 13 is lifted and that I can eventually realize my destiny as the kind and benevolent Chicken Baroness of the Pacific Northwest.