Sunday, June 28, 2015

Butchering

This has been an exciting week! Last weekend, I weeded the garden and was so proud of all my hard work and it's frustrating looking at my garden today because all of the weeds are back! My veggies are growing well and it looks like my broccoli is about ready for harvest already. A few of the brussel sprouts that I planted from seed decided to come up after all, but just in case they didn't, I bought some started plants and planted those. I will have a lot of brussel sprouts this fall!

It seems like everyone else but me has lilies blooming! Mine are taking their time this year.

We didn't get the farm that we haggled for which is hugely disappointing, but at least it gives us time to save more money for a down payment so we don't have to sell the camper. I'm willing to bet that it will still be for sale six months from now and maybe we can try again.

On Monday, I butchered two of my hens. I got fed up with Charlotte's broody shit. She has been a freeloading, lazy chicken for TWO months, so she was the first to go. I also butchered one of my red hens who was pretty sick from the ILT. That was quite the interesting experience- butchering chickens when I never had done it before- and with no help! I'm proud that I was able to do it! I got impatient and started plucking one without dipping it in boiling water first, and you can tell because she still has some pin feathers...arghh. Oh, well. I know for the future to start my water way ahead of time.


I butchered two of my Pekins today and that was not as bad as I thought it would be. It took me about 3 hours from set up to clean up, which isn't bad for my first time butchering ducks. I took a few pictures through out the morning of the steps all included. It is so crazy that these ducks were tiny little babies in April when I brought them home...and now they are in my freezer, dressed out at over 5 pounds each! I think it is the coolest thing that I was able to raise these ducks to eat. Now, that's what you call from scratch!!! It's a lot of work to do the butchering, but if I wanted a locker to do it, I'd have to travel over 2 hours one way and then pay an outrageous price to have it done. It's way cheaper to do it myself. I will raise ducks again next year to butcher. I had two male Cayuga ducks, but I ended up selling them so I didn't have to butcher all four by myself. This left the only female out of the bunch of ducklings all by herself. Luckily, Daisy has Kim and Karen to hang out with (my two Runner females). I'm looking forward to her laying eggs this fall.



Waiting to get butchered.


My butcher block


Draining the blood, and then I take their head off completely.


Next, they go for a dip in boiling water to loosen their feathers.

I used this bucket to pluck all the feathers out.

Halfway done with plucking, and then I take the guts out and dress them.


The finished product!

The girls going for a dip on a sunny, hot day!


Steve is all kinds of messed up. He hates water and now he's been trying to hump the chickens...I'm probably going to have to sell him because ducks can seriously injure chickens because they can get quite aggressive when they mate. So if you know anyone who wants a Pekin who thinks he's a chicken, let me know!

I took Winnie away from her babies now and brought all of the baby chicks together outside. Dave is letting me borrow his igloo doghouse for them to sleep in until they are big enough to go with the big chickens. One night this week I will vaccinate them for ILT now that they are 4 weeks old. Winnie is not happy about the change, but hopefully she will start laying eggs again soon. I sold two of my chicks today because they are roosters. I am down to 28 birds in total now, which will probably feel nice on the pocket book when it comes to buying feed.

Checking out their new temporary home.

My hens have not been laying worth crap lately and I don't know what their problem is. I got 1 fricken dozen last week and I have 14 hens that can lay!....So over the weekend, I worked at the fish fry and brought them home a ton of scraps. Maybe the increase in treats will get them back on track again. It's really frustrating because due to the egg prices increasing the demand for my eggs is higher, but I don't have any to sell! And to feed these birds, I need to sell 8 dozen eggs just to buy a bag of food for them...and they've been eating a bag per week. I hope that with the absence of the male ducks, it will bring the feed costs down again.



Other than that, not much has been going on. I started my new job three weeks ago and it's going well. I believe I will like it a lot. The people are pretty cool and I will enjoy creating treatment plans and working with individuals in the community. Eric has been busy at work loading trains this month and has been doing a phenomenal job getting healthy. He's lost quite a bit of weight and he motivates me to do well, too....but once the weekend comes, hell breaks loose and I eat like a cow again...ugh.

I ran the  5K this weekend and that was good, but brutally hot for 9 in the morning. It was 75 degrees! I am doing another 5K in two weeks in my home town. I hope my time is better. I have not been exercising at all, but I will get a membership at the gym this week because I learned that I can shower in the staff shower at work, so I can totally work out in the morning before work. Afternoons just don't work for me. I want to just eat and relax in the evenings, so I've gotten quite lazy since I started my new job.

We are going camping for the next two weekends, so I better get going so I can plan our menu and shopping list. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

RIP Henny Penny

Sigh...another one bit the dust today. It's always the ones who don't show any symptoms that keel over. The last one that dropped dead was Fibby and she was perfectly fine the day before...just like Henny Penny. I don't get why the ones who are actually sneezing and have ocular discharge don't die. Not that I want any of them to, but it's just annoying.

I am starting to think that only one of the ducklings I brought home is a female. That means the rest (except Steve) are going in the freezer. The black ducklings are definitely cayugas, which will be fun because they lay charcoal colored eggs and one of the black ones is a female. You can tell males from females because male ducks do not quack. She definitely quacks.

I am currently sitting with my chickens and Francis is running around being a man whore. He just mated with two different hens in the last 5 minutes. Ew! It's definitely chick season.

I have two broody hens. Charlotte is still trying to hatch 6 golfballs and one egg. There were two eggs, but I thought one was a dud, so I threw it outside into the run...Sure enough there was a chick inside and one of the chickens happily ran off with it and had a snack. GROSS!!!!!!!!!!

I brought home four baby Rhode Island Red babies and stuck them under Winnie to trick her into thinking her eggs hatched...and it worked! Lol. She is being a great mom to the babies and it's the most adorable thing ever!

I had a few kiddos come to clean my coop last weekend and it is SO nice and clean. The chickens love it and I'm super glad it's not so stinky anymore.

Well, Susie wants to sit on my lap so that's all for now, folks!