Thursday, September 24, 2015

Miss Chicken in the Coop with the Egg

Okay, now that we've gotten through the incoherent excitement about our first eggs, we can start thinking about the details.

We have several different breeds of hen, and each should lay slightly different-looking eggs. So far, we're getting 3 eggs pretty much every day - and they look like they might be from the same three hens. We get a light brown, a medium brown, and a pink egg. This leads me to believe that only 3 of the 5 hens have started laying, and the others will join in soon.

So this brings us to the question: whodunnit?  Time to play Clue.

Here are the clues:

We know the general egg color each hen should lay.

Ameraucana (Dorothy and Rose): green, blue, or pink
Buff Orpington (Queenie):  brown
Dominique (Attila the Hen): brown
Rhode Island Red (Henrietta): brown

Well, that's not very helpful. The only guess I can make here is that only one of the Ameraucanas is laying, since it's less likely that they're both laying pink eggs.

We've also been making some observations.

I've seen Attila hanging out in a nesting box, and then later found an egg in that box. So I'm pretty sure she's laying.

When I was watching her, I also noticed Rose and Henrietta acting suspiciously. They kept coming up to the nesting boxes, peeking in, noticing Attila, and then turning around and walking back out. Perhaps they were waiting their turn?

So currently, I suspect Rose, Attila, and Henrietta in the nesting boxes with the eggs.

Further updates on the case will be shared as the detectives make breakthroughs.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Eggs eggs eggs, we have eggs!

That is all.

Small but perfect!

Gorgeous orange-yellow yolks!

Our very first home-grown egg dish - a cheese omelet.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Chicken Curtains

I made curtains for the chickens. Yes, really. Stop laughing, Mom.

This isn't just some odd I-am-too-attached-to-the-chickens quirk (although, y'know, I'm not saying that's not also true.) Putting curtains over the hens' nesting boxes actually has significant benefits.

First, chickens like to lay their eggs in a dark and protected spot. Curtains make the nesting boxes a more appealing place to lay, reducing the chances that the ladies will decide to deposit their eggs somewhere I can't find them and/or will step on them. It will also supposedly deter them from sleeping in the nesting boxes, but thankfully we haven't had that problem.

Secondly, the curtains will help prevent a couple unwanted habits: namely, vent pecking and egg eating. Yes, in the right (wrong?) circumstances, chickens will eat eggs. Curtains keep the eggs a little bit hidden, and you know the old saying - out of sight, out of mouth. Vent pecking is when chickens notice the red, inflamed vent of a hen in the process of laying her egg, and decide to attack it like the evil little feathered dinosaurs they are. Again, if they can't see this happening, they don't think about it.

As seen at the county fair. Those 4-H kids know what they're talking about.

I made six little individual panels, and we stapled them up in the three nesting boxes.

The white spheres you're seeing in the boxes aren't eggs - they're golf balls. Chickens like to lay their eggs where others already have, so some sources say that putting in a decoy will encourage the hens to lay in the boxes. Also, now I have three fewer of Brett's golf balls cluttering up the house.

Brett even added handles to the box under the roost. It's getting fancy in here!
I'm thinking about adding some little tiebacks for the curtains, but that would be because I am slightly too obsessive about the chickens.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Demolition Derby!

We're celebrating state/county fair season at the Barbakoffs! Some people go to watch trucks or tractors get smashed. We stay home and smash up the walls.

This is the first big step in our huge upstairs remodel. I'm so excited to see this blank slate turn into a gorgeous master suite!

Brett about to make the first incision. Nurse ... scalpel!

Not gonna lie, this was a pretty nerve-wracking moment.

But I got over it.

(And anyone who criticizes my sledging technique is asking for a hammer to the kneecap. You've been warned.)

We found some weird 70s insulation product behind the drywall. Brett actually brought it on the bus for all his architecture buddies to look at and puzzle over. They assure me that it is not asbestos and has only a small chance of making me turn green and grow a second head. I'm glad we wore dust masks!

This must be how Joshua felt at Jericho.
Especially because, as with all my favorite projects, we made a giant mess!

And this is the clean corner.
Obviously Hermione was not allowed upstairs during this process, so there are no puppy pictures. To entertain you (and her, while she was left cruelly alone downstairs), we give you Puppy Contemplating the Meaning of Life and a Stick.

If a stick falls on the carpet, and no one is there to chew it, is it still delicious?