I am a very excited girl! Last year, when our hens were producing like mad, I had the forethought to freeze some eggs. They continued to produce over the winter, so we never used them. This winter, however, not only did I not freeze any in advance, but NONE of the three ladies are laying. I was thinking this morning that I should probably throw out the frozen eggs that were never used. But, I came across this piece of information from the USDA:
Freezer Storage Time Because freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only. Refer to the freezer storage chart at the end of this document, which lists optimum freezing times for best quality.
If a food is not listed on the chart, you may determine its quality after thawing. First check the odor. Some foods will develop a rancid or off odor when frozen too long and should be discarded. Some may not look picture perfect or be of high enough quality to serve alone but may be edible; use them to make soups or stews.
While I’m not a huge USDA fan, they are a great source for information like this and have just made this girl’s day! It looks like we might actually get to have eggs with our turkey sausage patties tonight.
So, while I’ve already mentioned that I have seedlings going, the idea that spring is here did not fully click until I was out with the boy, dog, and ladies earlier. The season is here in all it’s glory and I am proud to say that we didn’t lack in eggs. Even with Skee’s one month protest, we still averaged eight eggs a week from Louise and Edith, our red sexlinks. Now with the warm weather and the ladies getting out every day, we’re back up to 16 – 18 eggs a week! More than what we ever thought we’d get out of the three birds.
Thanks to the handy-dandy egg scale my dad gave us (don’t know why or how he came to have one), we’ve been able to keep track of the sizes as well. For the red sexlinks, it’s the only way to tell whose egg is whose, which is super important in case calcium issues should arise. Skee, whose eggs had been mediums last winter, are now up to extra large size, just like Louise, who is ironically our smallest bird. Edith lays medium eggs pretty steadily with the occasional large.
Now we just need to stock up on egg recipes…
We now have our third and possibly last edition to the Raymond flock. Welcome to the family, Skadoosh!
I apologize for the poorly focused photos (the camera battery was dying), but you can still get a wonderful idea as to her colouring. Skee (as we’ve nick-named her) is a very skittish, two month old Araucana who had been pecked at by the larger one in a mixed flock of twelve birds.
Right now she’s in her own little tractor made out of a portion of my parents’ old cat run.
The plan right now is to not have her out with the others for a week or so, letting her get used to us and them through the safety of a fence. This will also give us time to make sure that she’s completely healthy and healed. We’re going to slowly move the tractors closer to one another so that they can get used to each other’s sounds and company. In about a week or a little more we’ll begin doing supervised free range time as a flock. Given that Edith, one of our comets, is also very docile, and Louise isn’t too big of a bully, they should be able to be a very happy family by the time we have the coop built.
On the egging front, all soft eggs have disappeared, as well with the egg eating incidences. We have had close to two dozen eggs from Edith and Louise and both are laying one a day!
First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posting the last week or so. Things have been a bit nutty here on the homestead. Budgets are being made and schemes are being developed. Regardless, onward to the chickens.
While parusing the internet while eating my tasty and yet horrible for me and everyone else overly processed chicken nuggets, I began thinking about out goals on beginning to raise chickens for eggs and possibly meat. I came across this nifty little find: My Pet Chicken: Which Chicken Breed Selector tool.
By entering the hardiness for winter, how unique of a breed you want, if you’re going to hatch chicks, the colors of the eggs you desire, and the attitude combined with the egg laying rate of the birds, this feature helps gives suggestions for the breeds that best fit into your game plan. By entering the specifics that Joe and I are looking for, I was able to find 19 different birds that fit our desires. From this point on, you’re allowed to click on each species and get a wonderful snippet of what the bird is like. Going from this alone, it looks like my personal favorites are currently the Orpington, Easter Eggers, and New Hampshire Red.
Since I’m lacking on writing time today between midterms and chores, I leave you with this wonderful video that’s a great summary on chicken farming.