Year of the chicken

For December, I made -$22.84 for the month on an average 27 hens laying. I had $84.09 in expenses for feed (450#) this month (all my expenses this month were in food).  We collected a total of 395 usable eggs (6 more than last month) averaging 12.7 eggs/day collected. The chickens ate 1.14#food/egg. In December it cost $0.21/egg or $2.52/doz for feed.  As an added bonus the two quail have laid 26 eggs this month.  My feed costs have been rising for the last two months, just over 24%.  I may have to raise my egg prices.  I am sure that will go over well…


Here it is the Year of 2010 Chicken Financials!!  This is why you should run out and start raising chickens.  I averaged 22.7 hens/day.  Collected on average 12.2 eggs/day.  My productivity for the year was 52% for the hens (this is actually pretty good for the whole year).  My chickens ate on average 0.68 # feed/egg.  My average cost per egg is $0.15 or $1.80/doz.  My total net income for the entire year is -$128.04.  So not exactly a bumper year.  I am hoping to break even this year.  I will give it one more month and see if the price of feed comes down.  If not then I am going to have to raise the price of my eggs to $3/doz.  I still want to get another 12 hens.  I am hoping to get them the first part of Spring.  

I went out today to see the twins.  It was 50 degrees and sunny.  Hard to believe it is really January.  The little girl is the black one on the left.  Hard to believe that both babies were born less than 8 hours apart.  Look at the size difference!!  I went out and bribed the sheep with bread.  They love to eat it and we have several of them trained to eat it out of our hands.  It helps tame them down and make them much easier to be around.  Now this mama did head butt our chocolate lab when she got too close.  She also tried to run over our Brussel Griffen.  He (Sprout) almost ended up in the creek trying to get away from her.  

Annmarie finished some more booties and has just started adding baby hats to her collection at the fabric store.  She sold out the first batch last year.  My favorite is the tangerine pair in the center.  

As Promised

New baby #1. Actually, this is the younger of the two twins, born sometime during the night. We haven’t checked gender yet, so I’ve go no new information on that, but he (generic he) sure is a cutie.
And this is new baby #2, actually the older twin born first. Momma hasn’t gotten him (generic pronoun use again) cleaned up, but she’ll get there. This is our first true black. I’m kinding hoping it’s a girl, but I haven’t checked, so it’s only a hope at this point.
And here are some of the rest of the crew. The little one in the center is our baby from last week. He seemed very excited to have some potential playmates. He kept hopping around the little ones trying to get them to play, but they were too busy sleeping. Maybe tomorrow. The big guy in right behind the lamb is our ram. He’s very gentle and is great with the babies. The two on the left with the dark fronts are our new acquisitions. They have finally integrated with the original herd and are doing very well. Ignore Steve’s speculation that they are full grown. They aren’t. They are still young enough to be playing dominance games with one another and jumping and turning circles in the air just because life feels that good. Not more than 4 or 5 months. I should probably get out some old books and remember how to age them from their teeth, but it’s not really that big a deal at the moment. They’ll grow up and have babies when they are ready.

another lamby!

I was letting the dogs outside to go potty tonight (30 minutes ago) and I noticed one of the cats had blood on its neck just below its ear.  I assumed it had gotten in to a fight and had bled out some.  There was no active bleeding so I was unconcerned.  I happened to casually mention it to the wife.  She insisted we bring in the wet cat and she dried it off.  It still had blood on its neck.  She carried it off to the cat food dish (elevated cart so the dogs don’t eat the cat food).  So she is petting the cat while looking for a source of bleeding and cannot find anything but the cat did smell suspiciously like sheep.  Of course it is snowing so we had to put on snow shoes and coats, grab flashlights and head out to the barn to see if the kitty had been snacking on afterbirth.  We made it without any one falling down.  Lo and behold, there was a brand spanking new baby!!  A jet black lamb with a white patch on its forehead.  It was so new it was still trying to stand.  Momma was licking it dry.  I am hoping there will be another baby in the morning.  Annmarie will take pictures in the daylight and post them soon.   I just volunteered her for more pictures!  We don’t have any pictures of the other baby during the day either.

Water musings

Well I am happy to report that the water is still working at our house!  This is a good thing.  On a side note I replaced the kitchen faucet (the cold water was not working well, just a trickle.  We assumed it was a piece of dirt/gravel in the cold water valve of the faucet).  This did not fix the problem. Now the faucet is much better looking and we have a spray nozzle, but there is not very much cold water.  On a plus note, the faucet is much better so it is possible to adjust the water to a tolerable temperature.  So now we believe the blockage is in the shutoff valve to the kitchen sink. This is a plumber problem.  Since I am going to have to get the plumber for the utility sink I will just add this to the list for him.
On the supply line issues we were all wrong about where the pipe was actually located.  We thought the pipe went in a straight line between the two houses.  It did not.  If you look down this telephone poll to the far right corner of our house you will be looking at the pipe path we had told the repairmen.  Yes, we were way off.  The pipe ends on the far left side.  The trench across the bottom of the screen was dug in an attempt to find the pipe.  There are three different trenches across the bottom of the picture.

Here is the view from our house.  The second leak ended up being near the bottom of this picture.  Our front yard is pretty torn up from all the trenches and digging in the last three years.  I definitely need to finish replacing the plumbing line and then rip up the entire yard and start over.  Not going to happen this year.  It is looking like fence building and replacing the front bridge are going to become the priority for Summer.

Sarah’s Bedroom repaint completed

Well it is official now, Sarah’s bedroom is painted.  I mounted five square sheets on her wall yesterday to use as a magnetic organizing board. The room turned out very nice.  She just needs to empty out her closet now.  We did not paint the closet.  It is still pink and burgundy.  You really cannot tell what the walls look like, she has so much junk stuffed in there.  The goal is to empty out 50% of the closet, gone, vanished, trash or giveaway.  She still wants to paint one nightstand black and I want her to strip the paint off of her door.  Those are things she can work on.  Here are the results:

Bedroom with a new bedspread, courtesy of her mother.  

Quail eggs

Well I finally saved up enough quail eggs to do something with them.  I had decided that I was going to pickle them.  I figured it would be like eating a large peanut M&M.  Two quail only lay so many eggs and with the weather (Winter) production is sporadic.  It got so cold for a while that the eggs were freezing solid and cracking, so I had to throw those out.  So on Monday I dug around on the internet for a recipe for pickled quail eggs.  Emeril was the winner.  He had hot pickled quail eggs.  I used the same recipe but only put one teaspoon of cayenne pepper (instead of three) and left out the two hot fresh peppers.  I added some extra garlic.  One of the tricks that most people posted was to let the quail eggs sit in a bath of straight vinegar for at least one hour to soften the shells.  They have incredibly hard shells and a very thick membrane over the eggs.  So I let them soak for three hours.  I had to let the bath steep for 2 hours anyway so it worked out good.  I made a single quart and then hot bathed it.  It actually sealed!!  Always a good thing.  Now I have to wait a month before they can be broached.

baby picture

Annmarie took this picture from the door of the barn, momma was pretty antsy.  This was right after the lamb was born.  I will try to snag another picture soon.

The lamb probably only weighs about three pounds.  Very tiny.

I changed out the sink faucet today.  We were having issues with not having cold water at the kitchen sink.  This problem was attributed to the multiple supply line breaks we have had and the dirt that gets in the line every time it is fixed.  So I waited until I was sure the line was done breaking and changed out the faucet.  The theory was that since it only affected the kitchen sink it had to be a problem in the faucet.  This being a typical plumbing job for me, I had to run to town and buy some silicone caulk and new supply lines (old ones are too short).  I got everything installed and turned on the water, still just getting a trickle of cold water…  It must be in the actually supply valve under the sink.  This is a stupid problem to have.  On top of it all, our pump went out in our dishwasher on Saturday.  It is three years old so any warranty will have expired I am sure.