Thursday, August 22, 2013

Firewood and Hay, Pullet eggs

Last weekend the boys came down from Boise to go help Scott get the first load of firewood. They brought home about four cord for one days work. We use about eight cord of wood in the winter to heat the house.

We got our hay for the coming winter the other day. Pat and Larry came over to help Scott and The Boy got pick it up. Leo grows the best grass/alfalfa blend hay around here. I love his hay. He charges a reasonable price for the area and he is so nice about letting us pay it off a little at a time, and storing it for us until we have it all payed for. The guys take the big trailer over, load it, and bring it home and stack it. It takes about two ton or so per horse to feed through the winter until the grass starts growing and we can turn them out to pasture. 

And now for some gratuitous chicken pictures. 
This little hen likes to eat out of my hand

White Plymouth Rock Rooster

The new Sagitta pullets that we raised up from chicks have started laying their first eggs this week. They are about half the size of the older hen's eggs, but I was ever so excited to see them. I started locking everyone up during the day just to see if they were laying yet, and hiding them from me. On day three I had one tiny, perfect egg in with the big girl eggs. The bigger egg in this pic is actually a smaller egg for the older girls. 

CornishX vs Red Ranger

Well I've been a bad blogger. We finished processing the last of the meat birds a little while ago. Maybe two weeks or so. I even had The Boy take pictures, but his idea of what was interesting and mine were different. Who wants to see the inside of a trash bag full of chicken guts? lol.
Scott and Connie plucking

Connie and Pat plucking
I manned the dispatch station. I caught the chicken and did the killing, and bleeding out. Then I took it to the boiling water pot and did the swishing. Pat, Connie, and Scott did all the plucking while I went after another bird. Then over to Larry for the gutting. Andrea was in charge of cleaning off, cooling, and bagging. We did 15 chickens in not too much time. I parted out 8 of them and froze 7 of them whole.

I've made a few dishes out of the cornish and the rangers now. The cornish (creepy meats) had much larger breasts and smaller legs and wings. The rangers were more proportionate as a whole bird. The leg quarters on the rangers were a lot bigger and leaner looking. They were great for the barbeque or roasted in the oven. I did both birds in the crockpot and then broiled in the oven to crisp up the skin. They tasted just like the rotisserie chickens you get at the grocery store. The rangers were more forgiving of being over cooked. They didn't get as mushy. Over all I'm very pleased with the birds we raised. They don't taste more intensely chicken, but do make the store bought birds taste a bit watered down. I know my birds were raised humanely, were dispatched humanely, and I know what they ate. No antibiotics, no soy, no growth hormones. I know they free ranged and were happy birds. I'l definitely raise meat birds again in the spring. I'll order a set of cornish x's for the breast meat and the tenders. They were more plump and just overall bigger, and the rangers more for whole birds. The cornish were better before it got too hot outside too. I don't want to stress them. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Walking around Pictures

I had the camera today with me while I was out and about. My garden is actually starting to produce stuffs that I can harvest and bring inside. I've got about half a gallon bag of snap peas in the fridge. The green beans gave me their first couple of handfuls of beans today.
Greens Beans

Snap peas
Banana Peppers 
Purple beans growing at the base of the corn

Bell Peppers


Squashini corner

I got some good shots of the steers. Norman is a big boy now, full time out with the big boys from last year.
Are you a cow too?

And I got Chicken pictures for Carolyn. I read back and counted days, and this week the Red Rangers are 12 weeks old. Pete at the feed store, told me about 8-10 weeks. I could have easily started butchering a week or two ago.I free ranged these, and restricted their feed just like I did the creepy meats. They were more active, but now their legs are getting to be giant tree trunks. They are molting and look bad, lol. I went out there the other morning and it looked like a chicken had exploded inside the chicken house. Some of the roosters are getting down right huge. I did process three last week, three of the bigger ones. I was joking last time we did them, that I found their nuts way up in there, and they were tiny. these three were not tiny.

So in this pic is Einstein the polish crested on the left. The little grey bird is an easter egger that is a week younger.

This pic is two Ranger roos, a White Plymouth Rock roo, and a 4 year old Jersey Giant hen. I was told it was a JG at any rate.

Ranger hen, Easter Egger on the pan, and another Ranger hen. They are easily the same size as the Jerseys, and as big as the White rock roo that is like 4 weeks older.


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