Even though there is no sun to help the build up of light, as the days lengthen the chickens have begun to lay again. Yesterday I collected TEN eggs.
Eggs are laid with a thin film of protein sealing the pores on the egg, a natural way to help them stay fresh for longer. So I never wash them. If you wash them they are then vulnerable to contamination and must be refrigerated. But with all this mud and with all our chickens being free range the pigs are getting a good number of eggs to eat. I just collect the eggs, boil them up, cool them and feed them to the pigs like candy.
Yesterday was warm so I cleaned out Tia and Txiki’s sleeping area. Usually I am throwing bricks of frozen solid manure with the rest just frozen to the ground and immoveable, so it good to get it really clean. I leave one part of the shelter as deep bedding this I just pick the cow pats out of and spread more straw on top of. The floor of the barn is concrete and cold. They like to sleep in the deep beds.
I also attempted to clean out the piglets toilet corner but they are hopeless – always wanting to play with the fork. And throwing forkfulls of pig manure outside with little piggies trying to CATCH the fork AND any flying material means someone will lose an eye before bedtime.
It is wet. We did not get the forecast ice, or even much of the rain they were sending out red alerts about. This part of the plains had air full of thick wet fog and great droplets of water that did not rain down as much as hang around. It is 43F/6C already this morning and this looks to be our high for the day. From now the temperature will drift slowly back down below freezing.
Everything is sodden.
Today I will load the little chicks into a big dog crate (after putting Boo on the chain) and take them into the big chook house where they will meet the big chickens from the safety of their own house, in a few days and at night I will release them. It is time to get the turkey house cleaned out. When I come back from the UK and my mystery destination (any guesses yet?) we will receive a new set of layer chicks. They will be ready to lay between 4 and 5 months old so I like to start early.
Poppy the sow was observed being bred by Manu the other day so that is good news as I have a date for her. No-one saw him breed Molly so I have no idea about her, we will just follow the signs. I timed their meeting so that she would farrow six weeks before Poppy so if my plan works Molly will farrow in late March and Poppy in May. The gestation period for swine is three months, three weeks and three days. But you know what they say about plans and mice (or pigs).
I hope you all have a lovely day.
I can’t imagine dealing with an entire barnyard of animal poo! I clean up the deer pen daily, and like you with the rain and the muck, about all one can do is clean up as best you can and pile more straw on top. I really love warmer weather when clean up goes a little more smoothly!
It is the time of year, in the summer with everyone outside the barns are easy to keep clean. Of course having the tractor still in the tractor hospital is not helping. c
Yes, those tractors are life savers!!!
Oh that is a lovely bowl of Eggs!
It is such a comfort knowing they are laying again and the numbers of eggs will increase from here. And the eggs are such an important part of the pigs diet. c
I’ve known that cruisers often coat their eggs with wax before setting off on a long sail. I’ve known it was a method of preservation, but not I know it’s an extension of a natural protection.
The coating on the egg is called the ‘bloom’ though I think it should be called the ‘shine’. It also has anti bacterial qualities. A very clever choice. In fact human babies are also born with a bloom to help them navigate the first few days of exposure.
France perhaps! Or maybe somewhere Scandinavian–how about Denmark, as I have Danish roots 🙂
Those Danish sure did get around. There are a lot of people in NZ with Danish roots.. c
I would love to keep chickens, but we have a bad fox problem round here and we go away a lot, so not to be.
Love the piggies playing catch with the poo and pitchfork! Yes tears before bedtime 😂 Maybe somewhere by the sea?
Since 70 percent of the Earth is actually sea water (and that fraction is rising) I think that is an excellent guess. Maybe – maybe not. c
There is a local lady who sells eggs, I was going to start buying from her but alas she is moving.
Have a wonderful and hopefully warmer and dryer day C.
🙂 Mandy xo
What bad luck – I don’t eat eggs when my chooks are not laying – store bought are so insipid! c
We sold fresh eggs when we had our farm in Quebec. Our customers were bummed when I sold the farm. Sorry your egg provider is moving…. I’d love to have a few chickens here in western Massachusetts but I’m gone too often. I have two parakeets – and I have to find someone to take care of them when I go away. ; o )
I have the same problem with our cats and having someone to look after them when we travel. Would love to take them with but alas.
BTW. I have recently purchased eggs from a local supermarket and every single egg had a double yolk. I found that really odd. I rang the supplier and they said they were simply super jumbo eggs. I wasn’t convinced. Is it normal in a tray of 18 eggs to have every one with a double yolk? xo
Usually the very big eggs are double yolkers – especially if they are being fed a very high protein feed. Imagine getting a whole tray! They will have been inspected and sorted though and that is why they were ALL double yolkers – I have never heard of that before though.. interesting
I found it really odd C. Not sure if a tray got muddled up in the works somewhere… maybe…
I heard a women at the egg stall in the farmer’s market complaining about dirty eggs. She thought that free range chicken would never let their eggs get dirty and the problem must be down to bad farming. Little did she know. I joined in a defended the egg selling lady – chicken don’t care and ducks are even worse. Another time I heard a someone complaining about dirt on the potatoes! 🙂
Merciful heavens – where did they think the potatoes came from!? I remember being in a big market in Perth and we played a guessing game as to the geographical origins of the potatoes by looking at the colour of the dirt on them. I have a chicken who insists on sleeping and pooping in the nesting boxes, then she leaves her egg in there attracting the others to lay in there and before you know it I have three or four dirty eggs before I have begin morning chores. She is a trial that hen. I need to take steps! c
People like that deserve the supermarket! I tend to look at dirt on a potato as something wholesome and proof it came out of the ground.
Celi, is there a method for keeping the chickens from sleeping and pooping in the nesting boxes? We have this problem with more that one hen! And we have places to roost, as well as the tops of the boxes if they like. It can be very messy! 😦
Every single night we must go out and take that hen and retrain her to the roost or put her under a box for the night on the floor to break the behaviour. Trouble is retraining a chicken can take weeks! c
oh hah! when we used to live in the Portland OR area we had city chickens- best eggs ever….
and it took us about 5 evenings to break one hens habit of roosting in a tree right outside a neighbors bedroom
window- for some reason the hen thought that person needed to get up earlier than really was necessary
(according to the complaining neighbor) Now that we have moved to the mountains we get our local eggs from a
lovely next door neighbor. Too many predators for us to fend off. She has dogs to scare off the bears etc
The thought of farming with bears as a threat ASTOUNDS this girl from the beach
Chicken and dumplings perhaps?
hubby said to me yesterday Jan 25th babe.. an I looked up an raised a eyebrow, his voice had such a hopeful tone and he smiled and said jan 25th is the turning point locally, the time when it starts to stat wise get warmer each day.. not colder..
Each day the light is a touch more here, the solar heat from the sun is ticking up, I know because my living room has a indoor gage and my temps are touching upward an my hens are starting to lay more as well
Congrats on the new pig breedings and my guess.. hmmm I loved Holland but I adored Norway.. so I say.. Norway 🙂
Even though we are still sat inside a thick cloud, the longer light hours seem to be working, now that they are starting to lay again i put supplementary light in their house to create brightness but i am not sure it makes much difference – just cheers us al up to have the lights on for the day i suppose. c
Ireland or France … anywhere in between will make my guess close 🙂 Is there somewhere we can send get well soon cards to the tractor to speed up its recovery? Laura
That tractor! We are still waiting to hear. c
Nothing beats a fresh laid egg….we get ours locally but i think they must be small chickens as the eggs are not much of a size..but to be sure they are not battery eggs…..I know your secret location..on your way home you are stopping off in Bulgaria and then coming to see me…but might I suggest you leave it till the sun comes out, currently we are in deep deep snow and its cold brrr!
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 2:32 PM
I read somewhere that pullets eggs are extra high in iron or something – extra good for you anyway. c
I am having visions of soft scrambled eggs, torn basil and slices of fresh red tomato looking at your eggs. One of my favorite treats in the summer time! So going to UK first – then to a mystery destination – Morocco!
Cannot wait for tomatoes and basil – I miss basil the most in the winter.. c
Yes, our young hens are finally laying!!! It seems like forever since we’ve had enough eggs for us, the dogs, cats and pigs! Yeah! The eggs are small, since our hens are young, but we are over the moon about then laying again!!! 🙂 i’m thinking that maybe you are going to Ireland!
So much promise in a young hen – you will have eggs for a couple of years now. c
Playful Piggies! Who would have guessed it? I had no idea they would even play with the pitch fork. I’m hopeful you will be having more soon. I will say, as much as I’m ready to see the cold go and warm and light return, I’ve been very grateful for the long, deep cold spell. It’s killing off the stink bugs that thrive on the warm and multiply worse than rabbits. I miss daylight as I’m solar powered. I’m thinking you may be going to visit another blogger somewhere. Have a wonderfilled day too.
Winter is hard on the solar powered. We would be sunk here as we have not had any real stretch of sunlight in the longest time.. c
I keep full spectrum lighting available as you know Portland is notoriously gray all winter. Keeping busy helps too so I don’t notice it so much.
Keeping busy makes everything better! c
Hi, insearch (hope you don’t mind nicknames!) Just curious – are you speaking of Portland, Maine or Oregon? I was raised in Portland, OR oh so many, many years ago. Now reside in Yosemite vicinity. Sunny
Oregon. I’ve been here almost 5 years now and don’t plan to leave. Love it. Never been to Yosemite. Hear good things about it. I don’t mind nicknames since you don’t have mine. 🙂
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I am guessing -Spain!
I have never been to Spain.
[J] We have exactly the same weather right now, temperature inclued. Damp clings to everything, and the mud and dirt spreads like a virus! Yuk! I’ve shut the rams and wedders into their shed for today, as otherwise they will poach the pasture: best to save the grass for a drier day!
We are the same – I locked the cows up on the concrete pad today – they just pug up the land, churn it into mud when there is a thaw like this one coming. c
I do miss our chickies and their lovely eggs. And if I ever buy a small bag of washed potatoes instead of a giant sack of “dirty whites” Big Man rolls his eyes at me!
ALL potatoes in the supermarket here and thoroughly washed. All eggs are washed and refrigerated too – there are rules about things like that! c
How geography changes things! There are NO refrigerated eggs in Australia and we are advised to store them outside the fridge also. Potatoes: some small ones are washed: they have that label in BIG letters on top of the bag: all the big ones simply seem to have been brushed . . . .
Stupid question here, but I’ve always wondered: Do the pigs eat the egg with the shell ON? Or do you peel it? Sometimes my dog would just eat an egg I dropped accidentally, shell and all.
Also, what’s your tried and true way to hard boil fresh eggs and get them to peel fairly cleanly?
We’re having tule fog here today in inland Northern California – so mysterious and wonderful – we don’t get it at my house very often. Everything is a misty pink.
https://thekitchensgarden.com/2013/02/10/how-to-steam-eggs-no-need-to-boil-at-all/ When i ‘boil’ an egg for me I steam it. It never fails to produce an easy to peel egg – even when they are fresh. Also – yes – the pigs eat the eggs shell and all unless they are pregnant – too much calcium – same as cows. I just put the pigs eggs in a big pot and boil them. c
If you don’t use Celi’s steamed egg method you could try cooking the eggs by bringing them to the boil in the water instead of adding them to boiling water. Once they’re boiling hard, turn off the heat and let them stand for 10 minutes Then, when they’re done, ‘shock’ them by dumping them in a bowl of ice water. I’ve found that works even with very fresh eggs (literally straight out from under the chicken).
That’s how we boil ’em ♡
I read once that EU law says that eggs cannot be washed, where as US law says that eggs have to be washed. I’m in the former camp.
With the mention of snow from Patrecia I wouldn’t be surprised if you are close to Poland, maybe Hungry, Czech, Austria?
You are correct and that is why in the UK the eggs are on a shelf whereas in the US the eggs are refrigerated. I went to Prague for a job once and just loved it – the locals carted me about showing me all these teensy weensy bars hidden in the backs of houses and shops- it was amazing. c
Your trip to Prague sounds magical. I love when you meet local people – they give the best advice and, as you said, show you things/places you never would’ve known about otherwise. ++ The eggs weren’t washed in Malta, they weren’t refrigerated – nor were they in cartoons if you bought eggs at a small store. I didn’t know then about how washing removes the natural protective coating…
Now THAT is the way to really see a country…the way a local does!
I seem to recall that, sometime ago, you mentioned you’d be visiting France this year and my guess is that perhaps you’ll be staying with your French wwoofer and his family, as they stayed with you when they came to visit him in the summer.
Back in the 1970’s we lived in a rural setting and had a chicken house with layers in it. It was only for a couple of years and so long ago that I forget now much of what I learned in that time… but they were free range and I never found eggs except in the chicken house. I well remember tapping a free-range egg on the side of the pan to open and fry it and had to really bash it hard to get it to crack. Moving back into town a couple of years later and the first time I tapped a store-bought egg on the side of the pan it was so fragile it just shattered completely before getting into the pan… very disconcerting. And you’re so right, insipid is a good description of the store-bought ones… no flavour and a yolk that looks like cream instead.
Very mild here today and raining hard right now, with a freezing rain warning, turning to just rain early afternoon. We had sunshine yesterday morning and it was so beautiful and uplifting. The forecast has temps staying above freezing for the next week and up as high as 6c on the weekend… so I am a happy camper. Hope you have a lovely day too. ~ Mame 🙂
Your post was in the moderation file – that happens to you sometimes. I just won’t buy store bought – I would rather go without. We are getting warmer too in the next week – time to get some of the real chores done before it freezes again.
grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. I just wrote a long message and clicked on to post it… and it has completely disappeared.
Anyway….. to shorten it, I seem to recall you mentioning, a long while ago, that you would go to France this year and my guess is that you’ll be staying with your French wwoofer and his family, as they came and stayed with you last summer. Hope you have a lovely day too. ~ Mame 🙂
I would love to raise chickens, that’s on my list of my dream farm. 🙂
Chickens are easy to live with. And fun to watch – much love c
I’m glad you didn’t get the ice. My parents further north than you got 1/2 inch, treacherous for being out doing chores in.
Yes that sounds awful, and terrifying for the trees and power lines too
I have only 2 chickens now, after my big bold australorp died a few weeks ago, she was my good layer and laid every day, rain hail or shine. One of the others hadn’t laid for a couple of years, and I thought that was it for her, just a pet now, the other laid maybe once a week……now with Brenna gone, they’re both laying every day! even on very hot days. Perhaps her big forceful personality had something to do with it. I don’t eat a lot of eggs so 2 a day is plenty, Mirrhi and one of my cats share them.
I think maybe France ……somewhere there are gastronomic delights with lots of butter and cream:) Or Croatia, I saw a travel documentary on it, it looks like a wonderful place to visit, and delicious looking food.
Two a day sounds just right – interesting that they came back to laying after the big chicken died. I wonder why that was. hmm
I kindly say she had a big personality but really she was a big bully, I have wondered if she was taking all the food or not letting the others near it, and although they looked healthy, weren’t getting enough nourishment all the time to produce eggs. When I took them extras ….greens or watermelon….she’d race around grabbing it all and stuffing it in her beak, I worried she’d choke sometimes.
The best way to get your chickens to lay is to feed them heaps of protein – and if she was stealing it? – you are quite probably right..I have cows like that! AND pigs. Interesting that there are chickens like that too.
Yay for the eggs! Wow! TEN? We are getting two in one day, about three days apart. Can hardly wait to get our new babies in and slowly introduce them to the older biddies. Like you, we have two houses and a pen that can be closed off ’til the timing’s right. Might even try another troop of ‘homegrowns’. – Have a super day, everyone!
One day I am going to build a proper INTRO pen, maybe this year – so far it is dog crates! c
Hmm, you said the UK – Scotland?
Oh Scotland – I would love to go to scotland! c
I think India!
Oh I wish!! My friends frm the UK are off to india as we speak – I am quite green.. c
Well, I sent ‘my guess’ as to the ‘mystery destination’ to Celi privately quite awhile ago . . . . no, of course she just smiled! But ’tis odd that quite a few of us are saying France 🙂 ! To me ’tis logical – and she has that Chicago >< Heathrow return ticket so don't think she and her beautiful kids 'shouting' the extra part have thought too far afield . . . ?
My children might be shouting very loudly! c
*big smile” My apologies – we may have a possible ‘disconnect’. In Australia ‘to shout’ means to ‘pay for’ or ‘partially pay for’ for other people – thought it was the same in NZ . . . ? And thought your children were paying for some of your trip after London: sorry!! . . . . how ‘noise’ as in ‘shout’ came into this is somewhat beyond my comprehension!
I know what you meant – it was a play on words! It is the same in NZ.
My uncle had a hatchery and a large yard with lots of free range chickens. It was fun to go gather the eggs. They were left in a big metal basket on my aunt’s pantry counter. Washed just before use and the best eggs ever. It was interesting going along with my uncle to deliver chicks all around the area. I got to see lots of farms, also ended up eating lots of homebaked cookies and fresh milk.
I think France or Italy for your mystery destination. Stay dry.
What a beautiful memory – delivering chicks.. you would always be welcome! c
Some supermarkets in Australia refrigerate or cool eggs variously. AndmImhave nevr seen a dirtynegg in supermarket somcan onky assume they are at least wiped. We buy local fre/pasture eggs from farmers, luckily the local co-op also stocks good local eggs because if there is only cheap, cage or so-called free range eggs to be had we go without. Ditto with chicken & meat.
I hope your sidetrip wil be somewhere in the southern hemisphere that will warm your bones 🌞
I am envious of you getting eggs. The bobcat killed almost our entire flock. We have two hens and one rooster left. And no eggs. Sob. We will start over again in the spring — and in the meantime we are covering every inch of the chicken run with chicken wire (over the hog panels already there). Now, if I could just get rid of the rats…
Those rats! When we had the worst of them I had the same – the rats were killing the chicks – horrible bastards. In the end I got a special box that you could put poison in but no chicken or cat or dog could get into it. We got rid of a lot that way. I hated to use poison and never had to again but needs must. I also killed a lot by having a half filled container of water with feed sprinkled on top, the rats jumped in after the feed and could not get out – drowned – that was my fathers trick.
I need to get one of those boxes. I was using rat zapper traps but they don’t last very long and they are very expensive. Where did you get the box? Feed store or online? I will also try the water trick. Bastard rats is right. We are getting more chicks in the spring and I don’t want to lose anymore to rats.
My knowledge of pigs grows by leaps and bounds here.
We’ll make an associate farm boy of you yet! c
Do you follow David, Fine Dining at Home? If you do, you should try to meet for a coffee in London, he is quite a lovely person.
Farm fresh eggs are such a treat. I bet the yolks are gorgeous and dark orange.
You know I may have come across him – but I actually Follow very very few blogs – I will look him up – thank you
I only have 2 hens and 1 rooster left now, and I hope the hens start laying again soon…really miss having eggs!
Good Morning Celi! Just had a quick thought I wanted to pass along. When working on your pig breeding program, is it possible to rub a bit of colored chalk on the rump of the females which would then transfer to the male when breeding commences? Of course you can’t sit and watch them all day, but perhaps this would provide a clue as to what happens “behind closed doors”? Also, if you are breeding several females, using a different color for each? Anyway, I’m sure you have it all under control, but it helps me to get random stuff like this out of my brain, to make room for more random stuff. 🙂 Have a great day!