Poultry Uncertainty, Part 2

So I had the young turken chickens in the pheasant pen for four days.  I had to teach them to roost in the shed, but they figured it out.  Despite my initial dislike of them, during this time I became quite attached to them. They are sweet birds.  I started to think of them as canaries (as in coal mines).  I decided I would spare them from the butcher if they are hens in repayment for their tasks.  Here they are after four days.  I had to put a kennel in the shed to help them get into the roosts.

So I decided it was safe, and I moved the remaining 15 McMurray hatchery chicks in there as well.

In the meantime, Tom pulled out some unused gates to put in the Meridian auction.  The white turkeys were terribly interested in this.

The young chickens survived their first night fine, but I had to show them where to roost.  But last evening when I went to check on them they were roosting on the fence and on top of the net gain.  I moved them into the shed but only counted 16 total.  I just figured one had gotten out with the odd roosting they were doing and since it was dark I couldn’t find it.  I didn’t see any evidence of carnage.

But this morning when I went out there were only 15 total.  And it was my Bielefelder rooster that was missing.  So I caught them all and moved them back into the crowded weasel proof pen.

And I found this hole into the pheasant pen that hadn’t been there in the 5 days prior.  So I do think it is a weasel.  I should have listened to Rita of countrygirllifeonthefarm as well as my husband.  I was swayed in my decision by the fact that the other free range chickens are fine, that we have never had problems in the peasant pen in almost 20 years of using it for a variety of poultry, and my reading that weasels prefer rodents to chickens (and we have plenty of rodents).  But I was wrong and two more chickens are dead (including my favorite).  I am trying to give these chickens a nice life and am failing miserably.

In other farm news, the pigs are immediately soiling their water as soon as we replace it.  It is so frustrating.

But yesterday I caught Starsky drinking from the tube waterer.  So at least I know they are getting some clean water anyway.

The garden is finally starting to produce.  We are picking and freezing lots of green beans and blueberries.  Plus I was surprised to find lots of cauliflowers.  They were hidden by the leaves.

I decided to make Golden Cauliflower Quiche.  This is a favorite from my vegetarian teenage years.

I made it without the crust to save on carbs.  I used cheddar instead of Longhorn cheese, and I wasn’t very good at slivering almonds.  But it is yummy and a good used of our eggs and cauliflower.

We are also getting lots of Neon pumpkins and zucchini.  I am feeding the pumpkins daily to the pigs and poultry who seem to like them.  I made zucchini noodles yesterday to go with the beef stroganoff that Tom was making.  They turned out well.  My dehydrator croaked.  (My blender also broke).  This is especially sad because I like to make zucchini chips with it.  I may have to break down and buy a new one  I usually make cauliflower rice.  So I will need to find the time to do that as well.

The other thing I have been doing recently is smoking salmon.  The salmon is from Tom’s son who caught a huge king salmon last year.  He gave me quite a bit, and it has been in our freezer.  Since Tom doesn’t like salmon, I has just been hanging out mostly except when we have fish night with salmon for me and halibut for Tom.  Now halibut is quite pricey so this doesn’t happen very often.  So twice now I have smoked some using this Cedar Smoked Salmon recipe.  I use it on my Caesar salads I make for lunch with our abundant Romaine lettuce from the garden.  Here is the smoked salmon I made yesterday.  It is so good!!!

In non-farm news, I went to the Skagit County Fair this afternoon.  It appears to be at full capacity again with the pandemic hopefully winding down.  This was my favorite grange display (some were pretty lame INHO).

I was disappointed that they didn’t have any poultry.  I was really looking forward to that.

The fair rarely has the breeds of animals that we have.  But they did have some Nigerian Dwarf goats like this cute named Maple.  They had a couple of Shetland sheep too.

I loved the ears on this mini Nubian.

On the way out I noticed this Zipper.  I didn’t realize they still had this ride.  I had a bad experience with it, a hot dog and orange soda as a child.  I will not get on a Zipper again.

So that’s the news.  I am still feeling horrid about my poor poultry decision making.  The young chickens and turkeys will remain in the weasel proof pen for quite a while.  The only change I see is when the turkeys become large enough to go in the pheasant pen but that will be a bit.



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20 Year Housiversary

It was on this day 20 years ago that we bought our house and farm.  It was a vision to think it would be livable.  Tom had more faith than I did.  Here is the front of our new home.

And the back with the hideous unfinished extension.

And a portion of the back yard.  There were also 13 dead cars, some with trees growing through them.

A portion of the dining and living rooms.

And the kitchen.

2002 first time in our future home

It was a lot of work, time and money to get it livable.  The animals were living here well before we were.  But it has been worth it in every way.

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Poultry Uncertainty

My friend wanted to rehome three young turkeys she had hatched.  There has been predation in her area, and she wanted a safer place for them.  And I wanted to replace the turkeys I have lost.  When they arrived they were a little bit smaller than my older chicken chicks.  So then I started doubting my plan to put them in our pheasant pen where 7 of these chicks were killed by some predator, but we are guessing a weasel.  So I got Tom’s opinion.  I have never been this indecisive before but feel like I keep making mistakes.  We decided to temporarily put them in the weasel proof pen with all of the other chicks.  It is crowded but safe.  In the photos, it looks more crowded than it is since they are nervously hanging in the corner of the pen.

These new turkeys are mixed: Narragansett, sweet grass and black mottled.  This is my initial favorite.

This one is a little freaked out.

The one in back seems to be doing OK.

So my plan is to put a couple of the larger chicken chicks in the “peasant pen” and see how they do before moving all of them in there.  I feel bad that I pick two innocent birds as potential targets.  I chose the turkens because I am not a fan of the breed, but that is not their fault.  I hope they do well.  We do think it was a weasel that attacked these chicks when they were much smaller and shouldn’t be able to hurt birds of this size.  Here they are venturing out into their new space.

My Narragansett turkey is the biggest bird in the pen, but I didn’t want to move her/him to be alone.  So now there are some smaller turkeys to hang out with.

Here are the mostly older chicks that will hopefully be able to go out in the pen.  The next big decision is how long do I leave the test chicks out before I move these ones out.  I really do not want to see mass carnage of these poor chicks again.  I love the turkey head in the corner of this photo.

In this photo you can see the smaller chicks better.  They are all black except one is white and one is brown.  They will need to stay in this weasel proof pen for a while but hopefully will have more room soon.  This morning I did find one trapped (but alive) under an overturned plastic dish I was using the feed the turkeys.  I hope this is not an omen.

I also moved the larger White Midget turkeys out into the barn.  I put their food on a spool so the sheep and goats can’t get into it.  I just hope they find it OK.  They are not the smartest of creatures.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a chicken fanatic.  I never tire of watching them peck and scratch around.  But you may not know my house is decorated with lots of chicken items.  Most recently, I resurrected this chicken jar and put goodies in it.

On Wednesday I had already planned on making a roast chicken, specifically Lemon Balm Chicken (as our lemon balm is still growing like crazy).  We have green beans coming on strong in our garden so this is the first meal of them this year.  And we have Swiss chard and green onions as well with plenty of eggs so I made a crustless tart with them.  So here is our farm meal.

We also picked up Ryeleigh from the vet.  She was thought to have an intestinal infection with dehydration and electrolyte problems (her sodium, potassium and chloride were quite low).  They gave her antibiotics, anti-nausea medication and subcutaneous fluids.  We were instructed to feed her specialized canned dog food.  Here she is eating it for the first time, somewhat tentatively.  But way better than she had been eating.

The veterinarian also told us we could feed her chicken, rice and broth.  Conveniently I had just roasted a chicken.  So all I had to do was cook some rice and add some of the cut up chicken and my homemade chicken broth.

And she loved it.  Since then she appears to have recovered completely.  We are so thankful.  I was incredibly stressed, worrying about her.


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