DIY Ammo box wood stove (part 2), Molting Chickens in an Ice Storm and Cheddar’s First Egg

ImageSo, Michael bought black high heat paint and applied 2 layers. We have burned it as is 4 times. We still need to pick up 2 pieces of the 4 inch pipe plus elbow. We want to make sure everything is going to work before we cut a hole in the side of the shed! (Between us though, I would have love to have had it done before this recent ice storm hit ;))

Our two older hens are in the process of molting right in the middle of an ice storm. They started about a week ago. We had some super cold rain at the time, so we went out inspected their coop. We stapled some 6mm plastic in some place because the wind was fierce and we knew the ice was coming. When we built the coop, all the specs we followed didn’t include them molting in the middle of Winter!! Oh No.. Improv with the plastic! I read during molting they need to be kept between 70-80 degrees. Our house right now doesn’t stay that right now. We cooped them so they would have to stay together and roost and hopefully keep warm enough. We sealed for drafts and supplies leaves and straw for their boxes and the floor of the coop. I read wood shaving are best because they actually do better at absorbing thermal heat throughout the day..

ImageCheddar, on a lighter note, has started laying!! I didn’t think she would until next month when the days stretched out a little more, but about 4-5 days ago I heard that ‘I got an egg in my butt’ cluck. At first I thought something was attacking one of them outside. I run out and Cheddar is pacing. We had our first little brown egg from her the next day 🙂

That’s it for now!! Send my hens warm thoughts, please and everybody safe safe and warm too!

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New Pancake Recipe a Hit!!

ImageNot having a clue what to feed the three children demanding food, I turn to AllRecipes.com (one of my savior websites) for something for breakfast. I had flour, milk and eggs.. I felt pretty confident 🙂 A picture of fluffy, golden pancakes immediately caught my eye. Checked the ingredient list. Okay.. This could work and I get to make my own sour milk. Oh yeah..

ImageFirst I put the vinegar into my milk to sit.. How weird. This has got me wanting to look up making buttermilk. I whisked together my flour and other dry ingredients while my butter melted. In drops an egg to the butter. I’ve noticed how dominate the yolk in our chickens eggs compared to what I’m used to from the grocery store! It’s cool how I get to pick which chicken’s egg I use. Donna got the honors today 😉

Mixed our flour mixture in and then proceeded to make some of the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new recipe.

Fluffy Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Garlic sprouts showing!!

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Now to keep the chickens out. I’ve been making them stay in their coop until 2 hours of daylight left. They destroy everything I do!! They had a field day with the leaves and straw I put out last week. I just spent nearly an hour raking the beds back together. They can stay. Gotta get a fence around the garden! I put maple leaves in the bottom of their coop so they could scratch around in there. It’s still so cool to open their nesting boxes and find 2 different colored eggs! They are getting a bit bigger in size too. I have the coolest looking dozen eggs on my street, I’m willing to bet!

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Covered my container carrots and strawberry beds with straw. It’s supposed to be 28 degrees here tonight. They are really flourishing, one thing chickens couldn’t get to! I call them Carrots for Eli to encourage an apartment dwelling friend of mine to garden anyway! I rearranged the chickens new design of the drip hoses. Creative little buggers.

Getting ready for winter..

Image Getting the chickens ready for their first winter.. I first cleaned out most of their old soiled bedding, not as good as their Spring cleaning will be if they are still in that coop, but remove all wet or really soiled stuffed, wiped out the nesting boxes. Then we laid in extra straw and leaves back in their boxes and the area under their roost and around the pen. We had our first frost this week and I don’t want their feet to get frost bite. We definitely have a rooster, now to figure out what to do with him. Michael wants to butcher it himself. I told him to have at it, but finish the job if he starts it.

We stopped letting them out of their pen this week as well. I will have no Fall garden because of them. Our plans are to build  a fence over Winter and move their pen once a week. We built it to where the two of us could do this, we just thought the birds all over the yard was ‘cute’. Not anymore! Donna finally started laying yesterday!! She laid the first that morning in the shed and the second in their coop but on the floor, not in the nesting boxes. The other two pullets will have around 2 months before they lay if we supplement their light. Pepper already sits on Althea’s!

We are still pulling peppers by the day. Today’s pull of jalapeno barely took the weight off the bush! Bell peppers are still forming, but I’m sure once the frosts are more consistent, they’ll be gone in the week. We let the chickens ruin most of our trail and error for this years Fall garden. I did plant three rows of garlic and plan to get onion sets over the weekend. But they completely ate the Brussels, lettuce, striped the potatoes. I guess I did learn one error!

Ladies and Gentlemen… We have our first egg!

ImageWhat a feeling!! We have not even started our oldest two on a laying feed of any kind. The proud owner, Althea!!

She gave us another one today. She is a Golden sex-link. Beautiful bird. She was nesting in the compost heap yesterday for long spells. The other chicks would even come check on her, chirping and peering under the cover at her. Sure enough, Michael checked after she made her graceful exit, there it was!! Light brown, small like they said they would be at first. You couldn’t slap the smiles off our faces 🙂 Donna will be up next, her eggs will be blue-green! This makes them 5 months old, it seemed only yesterday they were peeping from their cardboard box.

That means the others should be laying around the beginning of the year with adequate light. Chickens need 14-16 hours of light to produce a single egg! Laying slows down during winter months due to shorter days. If we supplement their light with an artificial bulb, probably a heat lamp during the severe temps, we can expect them to lay all winter. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, we ate the egg, boiled, on our salad last night at a friend’s house!! They put on a feast, so we celebrated with Althea’s first egg!! It was delicious.