Friday, February 10, 2012

Chickens and Turkeys and Eggs....

Tuesday was a monumental day.  Well, not really monumental, but a kind'a big deal.  Not much happens around here so I pretend that every little thing is, like, amazing.  One of our new pullets laid an egg!  These chickens were our own barnyard mutts and hatched on September 1st of last year, so it's been five months and one week from pipping to laying!  Both on Wednesday and Thursday there were two pullet eggs!  And the best part is that they were actually IN the nesting boxes.  Well, one was in the nesting box, the other was on top of the nesting box.  What's that they say about horseshoes and hand grenades?  Good enough for eggs then, says I.

One of the (many) things I worry about is having all my chickens suddenly decide that it's a good idea to find a secret hiding place somewhere out in the woods to lay their eggs.  I've stumbled upon many a "secret" nest during our six years of chicken-keeping.  Under an old sink behind the house.  Beneath the not-put-together stack of greenhouse panels.  On the tractor seat.  Underneath the bulldozer.  Stuffed between the big round bales of hay.  In the goat house rafters.  Even smack-dab in the middle of the goat yard; although it could have been kicked there by another chicken wanting to play soccer I suppose.

The older hens have been laying more too.  I've been getting on average four eggs a day from them.  I guess that light in the coop is helping (yes, I'll eventually post on the illumination of the chicken coop) as well is the warmer weather and increased daylight.  Or it could be the extra helping of greens they've been getting:
Peck quickly Gloria, the crazy-screaming-broom-waving lady is coming!
What's left of the dormant cabbage plants.  Luckily I just picked the three
that had a decent sized head on them before the chicken onslaught began.
We've also been seeing and hearing the local turkeys a lot more.  I've seen them almost every day in the back yard where the temporary goat pen used to be; today I counted twenty-two!  There's lots of still-green grasses, clover and other delectables back there for them to eat so they've been having breakfast there lately.  I've been tempted to scatter some corn back there to give them a snack but then my next though was to take the rifle out and bean one of them so we can have a turkey dinner (how's that for a conflicting series of ideas; feed 'em or eat 'em). Yes, I know, we have a freezer full of homegrown Cornish, but turkey is soooooo good!  That's one of the things I'm hoping to add to our farm this year.  How great would it be to have a homegrown turkey for the Holidays?!

Not sure if we're going to get some heritage breeds from the hatchery or if we'll just get the boring whatever-they-get-in poults from the feed store this spring.  I'm leaning towards the heritage breed, but then I would have to buy at least a half-dozen because I'd have a moral obligation to keep a breeding pair around in order to perpetuate their breed.

Ugh.  I've been having anxiety attacks lately thinking that we're going to have to reduce our livestock numbers because of the high feed and hay costs.  And now I'm talking about breeding rare poultry.  Will I never learn???


  1. Congrats on the egg! I found a teeny tiny one from one of ours yesterday. Hopefully she will lay "normal" eggs from here on out. LOL

  2. Congrats on the egg, that is something to get excited about. We too have reduced our numbers of animals because of feed costs. Thankfully we are having a mild winter so that the chickens have been out scratching around and it cuts down the chicken feed bill at least.

  3. I love posts like this, especially the pictures. We are in a blizzard right now with dropping temps. It's going to get into the negatives F tonight. Winter decided not to let go after all. So you're lovely pictures of chickens enjoying a raised bed reminds me that this too shall pass.

    Yay for your pullets! Many of my chickens at this time are mutts hatched secretly in nests in the hay loft, so I know what you mean by it being nice when they lay in the nesting boxes. It's so nice when chickens cooperate with us. lol

    Turkeys are great, but after raising them for so long I recommend getting a wild turkey mix. Even heritage breeds aren't very hardy, especially the females, and it can be a pain having males without females. No, I mean a pain, males can be very aggressive, especially in the spring.

  4. It's always a thrill when a new pullet starts to lay. Why is that? It's almost like getting something for nothing. Except it's not for nothing what with feeds costs and all. We tend to go with the heritage breeds that are good foragers 'cause we feel that helps a lot with the feed bill.

    Have you ever eaten a wild turkey? We don't have them up here so I haven't. Was just wondering if they are anything like domestic turkeys. Are they tough being wild ones? Just curious.

  5. Ha ha ha ha! Laughed at your caption under the first photo. That would be me with the broom too. So funny!

  6. Pullet eggs make me feel like Easter is right around the corner! I had one lay her first egg on New Year's Eve...what a way to finish the year :)

  7. Hey, congrats on the "new" layers! I'm anxiously awaiting the first egg from my new girls!
    Feed ' 'em...that would be a hard choice! LOL!!

  8. Peggy, congrats on your teeny eggs! They are cute, ain't they? :)

    The Family, I've also been noticing that we haven't been using as much chicken feed. I'll let them out first thing in the morning, but not give them any food so they're hungry & go out to pick greens & such, then I'll give them their scratch in the afternoon.

    Rea, I'll have to do more research on the turkeys, is there a breed you liked best? Aggressive animals don't last long around here, if you know what I mean.

    Mama Pea, we ate our first wild turkey about three years ago. Cooked it in the oven and when we were eating it I said to Paul, "It tastes just like a turkey!" which I believe he rolled his eyes at me. Darker meat if I recall correctly, but still yummy.

    Kristina, yep, us screaming broom waving country gals sure know how to keep them chickens in line! :)

    Lisa Lynn, What a nice New Year's Gift!

    Candy, If I remember your post earlier, you should be seeing those tiny eggs pretty soon!

  9. Reading your post I yearn for my chickens. Allergic to the dander I am. I make every little thing amazing also. Why not?
    Thanks for visiting my blog sweet friend. So happy about the new little eggs. That is amazing and worth waiting for.

  10. I just love chickens! I just got back from doing a library program for kids and families with 5 of my birds - we had a great time! Do keep us posted on the turkeys - I picked up a breeding pair of Royal Palms a few weeks back and they have settled in nicely. I sure hope we get some poults! I have read that turkeys really like swiss chard. I always supplement with scraps/garden stuff/grass clippings/zucchini in the summer to help with feed costs. I even asked for (and got) a used push mower with a bagger on it, just so I can mow a patch and throw it in the chicken run. It really does help with feed costs for part of the year. :)