Saturday, June 27, 2020

Flip-top Bottles at Aldi's

If you enjoy making your own kombucha at home, you need to stop in Aldi's and buy their sparkling lemonade (non-alcoholic) just for the flip-top bottle it comes in. My kids said the lemonade was very good too. (I wouldn't know, as I have been sugar-free on keto for over two years now. 😋) 

These bottles are very expensive to buy in a case. I paid $2.19 for what I think was a one liter bottle. They are glass and well made.

Sealing the bottles of kombucha airtight on the second ferment will produce a fizzy beverage. This is usually when you would add fruit or juice if you want--mixed berries and pineapple juice with ginger were our favorites. I have used pint canning jars with reused metal lids screwed down very tightly. This wasn't always successful. These bottles are perfect for the job.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Ameraucana Eggs in the 'Bator

I have another batch of eggs going in the incubator, hatch date set for Wednesday, July 8, 2020. These are Ameraucana eggs, a mix of self-blue lavender, cuckoo and black. 

My husband says I don't need anymore chickens. I told him I'm selling some Silkies to make room for more! 🤣 I will even come out ahead.

I am thinking I will cross these with my Easter Eggers to bring up their blue. 
Blue is my favorite color. 😍

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Trimming rooster spurs with a Dremel

As I was putting leg bands on my older Silkies the other day, I noticed one of the spurs on my painted rooster, Rocky, had curved backward and begun to impale itself into his leg. My husband was working in the garage, so I brought the rooster up and we immediately got it trimmed. 

I have seen another method where they put a hot baked potato on a rooster's spurs to loosen them and then twist them off. Leaving the quick exposed like that looks more painful to me. I thought I'd show you how it works to trim them with a Dremel rotary tool.

We get the little brown cutting wheels. I'm not sure the specs or part number, but see the photo below. It works like a tiny angle grinder.

You can wrap the rooster in a towel if you wish, but I just hold him tightly with his head under my arm and restrain the leg. My husband uses his free hand to hold the foot as well. It is important that the rooster holds still so you can make an accurate cut.

You want to leave about a half of an inch stub. You don't want to cut too close or flush with the leg. The main goal is to take the sharp tip down so that the rooster won't hurt the hens or himself when he walks or worse, stab someone or another rooster by flogging. It will slowly regrow. I find it sufficient to trim them once a year in the spring before breeding season hits full swing.

The great thing about this method is that it is very quick, minimally painful for the rooster and the speed of the wheel cauterizes the quick and you should have little to no bleeding. Recovery is quicker than the other methods of twisting them off and there is no need to apply medicine or isolate the bird for time to heal.

You can see from the picture below how clean the cut is.

You can see from this angle how the spur had curved back toward the leg. It made a complete U-turn. I've never seen this happen before in my 12 years of chicken keeping. Perhaps he had injured it. The other spur was normal.

All done and no worse for wear. Rocky's ready to go back to his girls. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Chickens in the Garden

I wanted to brag on my chickens a little and show you what good garden helpers they are. 😊

This upper quadrant of the garden is a perfectly bare square of dirt since I put my bantams on it this past winter. I have 6 silkies and 2 other bantams in that coop and they have been way more aggressive getting after every green and growing thing in their area. The smaller fenced area was to keep them out of the asparagus patch. 

The big chickens further over have done a lot to keep the weeds down in their area too. They had a big pile of compost they decimated for me. I've taken to making a pile in one corner of the garden each year of all manure, clippings and scraps. I don't want to waste any of the good stuff. 

I'll lime, till and plant the top half of the garden just as soon as it ever quits raining long enough. 

I've been working with these Poultry Net electric fences from Premier1 for about 6 years now. They are amazingly effective and I can't say enough good things about them. They're super easy for me to move by myself and I've had no losses to dogs, opossums, coons, etc. since I started using them. I have lost a couple to hawks, but that was while allowing the chickens to range outside the fence. The fences are strong and haven't degraded in that time either. I have three of them now for rotating their pasture and keeping different flocks separated. Occasionally I will get some stubborn girl who wants to fly out, but I just clip the flight feathers on one wing and that puts an end to that.

So anyway, this has been an easy way for me to cultivate and fertilize my garden and I highly recommend it. Those accursed weeds can be very discouraging for me otherwise. The droppings are incorporated quickly and thoroughly enough that it doesn't get "hot".