Hazelville Hens

Fresh "Organic" Eggs

Hazelville Hens Logo…Mosaic

Posted by Momma Hen on Apr-11-2010

Hazelville Hens Logo

 

First, a huge shout out to my long time friend and most talented artist, Mary Beth Novak- whom designed and created our logo.
I recently completed a mosaic class, in which I recreated our Hazelville Hens logo in mosaic. Finally the weather warmed up enough to set the mosaic on the outside of coop. 

Coop

Whimsical or just weird….?

Posted by Momma Hen on Mar-22-2010

Elf door in chicken run

I ask myself this question everytime I’m drawn to something more to tuck into my garden. For example: Elf door on giant sequoia in chicken run. My sister, of course, gave me this door which I love. It goes to nowhere, but just seeing it there at the base of one of my favorite trees causes some amount of pause. It keeps my imagination humming. There are also windows to match AND a tiny suspended lantern (battery operated) available to match this tiny elf door.  (oh– there’s also a Holiday Elf door, complete with a festive wreath) I’ve been resisting getting these because it may further my weirdness with this whimsy thing I seem to share with my sister. There’s a fine line somewhere in there… I fear that my yard is evolving into a place where trees have faces, tiny doors leading into  imaginary lands where fairies flourish and squirrels talk, chickens with funny hats & hand-knit sweaters, bird houses painted in crazy colors, maybe even a tiny castle tucked under a columbine in my shade garden, only to be exposed when winter comes…  OK– fast forward 25 years. I’m now the weird old lady with the garden from some fairytale.  (if we want to keep Portland Weird, I’ll definitely be a contributor)  Parents with small children will make regular stops just to stare thru my fence.  A friend once told me, we don’t get old we just get more so. Oh well, so be it. I can’t hold out much longer without the suspended lantern or the windows to match.

Keep posted….am working on further chicken coop decor inspired by my awesome, most talented friend Mary Beth Novak. (famous artsy, ‘Martha -goes-Berkeley’  beat-nik officiode, loving parent to Scooter and sweetheart Olive)

Cheers!

Linda

Rogue Quail?? hmmm…

Posted by Momma Hen on Feb-27-2010

Saturday February 27, 2010

This morning I opened the nesting box to find the tiniest egg ever! (Image shows tiny egg against normal sized egg.)  Could a quail have snuck into the coop?? Truely, this egg looks like a quail egg. Comparing this tiny one to the gigantic blue egg I found a couple months ago (thought it was from a baby ostrich), and it all made me wonder about the mechanics of egg laying. Of course, I referred back to my latest ‘Backyard Poultry’ magazine, which had an article called ‘The Laying of an Egg, An Amazing Process’.  Just in case you’re interested, here’s a somewhat quick synopsis of said article. When a pullet (hen) starts life, her ovary contains the beginnings of all the eggs she will lay during her lifetime. Estimates range from 2,000 -4,000, but most hens lay about 1,00 eggs in their lifetime. The undeveloped egg yolks are clustered  along her backbone, approximately halfway between her neck & tail. Depending on the hen’s age & how long she’s been laying, the yolks will range from head-of-a-pin size to nearly full size egg. At any given time her body contains eggs at different stages of development. Approximately every 25 hours, one yoke is mature enough to move into the oviduct- they call this ovulation & it happens within an hour of an egg being laid. When the yoke is in the oviduct- which is 2′ long- it can be fertilized only if sperm are present, encased in layers of egg white, wrapped in  protective membranes, sealed within a shell and finally enveloped in a fast-drying fluid coating called bloom. (stop reading if this is too gross) Anyway, at the end of this process the hen poops out the egg. And-just so you are clear on this, yes, chicken poop does come out of the same opening but never at the time of egg laying.  One interesting fact about double yoke eggs. This occurs when ovualtion happens too rapidly, or if one yoke moves down the oviduct too slowly and is joined by the next yoke. Double yokers are typically laid by young hens before their production cycle becomes well synchronized. Sometimes an egg can contain more than 2 yokes. I haven’t seen more than 2 yokes with my hens, but apparently 3 yokes is not uncommon. The greatest number of yolks recorded is 9 in one egg. Wow! I definitely will post that if it ever happens here at Hazelville. Maybe we could gain some fame? (spot on Letterman) Maybe even some fortune? I’m totally down with that.

Cheers!

Momma Hen

Chick Season is coming….

Posted by Momma Hen on Feb-14-2010

 

Spring 2009 Chicks

March starts baby chicken season at the feed stores!  The plan is to add another 5 or 6 hens to our flock this Spring. We’ve got our list from Linnton Feed, which lists the chick arrival date, type and how many they’ll be getting.  We’ve decided to get more of the Hazel-Ruby type hen. They tend to be more friendly and are dependable layers. Most of the red hens are either Rhode Island Red or a combo-type which includes this breed. Looks like Linnton will be getting what is called ‘Moyer Brown Egg Layer’ (see description below). Arrival date: March 10.  We also want to get 2 more Ameraucanas- blue eggs. They’re not great layers, but we love having the blue (sometimes green) eggs. When buying chickens, we always have to be careful that they are all close in age. If there is too much of a difference, the older chickens may start to pick on the younger ones. Chicken logic, again.

I just learned that you can freeze fresh eggs. We haven’t had enough eggs on hand to do this, but good to know:  Break two new-laid eggs into a small bowl. Using a clean knife stir the eggs to roughly mix yolk and white – do not beat. Lightly oil a Pyrex custard cup. Pour in the eggs and freeze. Do as many eggs as you have and want to put up. When frozen solid, tip eggs into a freezer bag, fitting in as many as possible. Zip tight and freeze. You can add frozen eggs until the bag is full. Thaw eggs in frig and use same as fresh eggs- baking, scrambling, etc..

Moyer’s Brown Egg Layers are a hybrid cross between a White Rock egg-layer type female and a Rhode Island Red male. Sustained production peaks of months over 90% are the norm, producing 270-300 eggs by 72 weeks of age on 4.0 – 4.3 lbs. of feed per dozen eggs produced. The mature layer weighs 4.75 – 5.0 lbs. and is very docile, making it the ideal layer for small family farm flocks .

Ode-to-Lilly

Posted by Momma Hen on Feb-6-2010

Beach-Ball-Dog

  Most of you know we lost Lilly on December 21, 2009….our 10 yr old smooth-hair fox terrier. She was my pal & my farm dog.  We made the chicken rounds together early every morning while the boys (Leo included) were still fast asleep. She liked to stand on the deck above the coop and bark at the hens as I let them out. Although I knew she’d love to get in there and tear up some chickens, I kept  her outside of the hen area for good reason. Chickens & terriers don’t usually mix well. Once in a while we’d be out there doing garden stuff, and she’d  get into it with Hazel across the fence. With Lilly charging and barking, Hazel would counter act with a dive and a peck. Basically they would be sparing each other across the wire fence. Neither would back off. I didn’t realize how tough & agressive chickens can be in some situations (hawk attack excluded). It was really funny to watch these two try to itimidate each other across the fence. Now Leo on the other hand, is very leary of the chickens- rightly so, as they like to take advantage of his fear/caution and charge him at every opportunity. Once in a awhile his beloved tennis ball drops into the hen yard. Of course, all the girls immediately run over to the ‘intruder’. Sending Leo into the chicken-mix to retrieve his  ball is always entertaining! Something I wouldn’t have done with Lilly. Anywho, she is greatly missed by her family. We reminisce frequently about what Lilly ‘did or would have done’.  

 Hey-all of you out there reading (or not) my blog, you CAN comment. Just a short note- like “good luck stupid-fool” or ” could you please learn to write better?” would give me some indication or encouragement that my weekly babblings are not lost to cyberspace. (SHOUT-OUT to MB—you rock girlfriend!)  

Momma Hen

Hazel, Ruby & the Gingers….

Posted by Momma Hen on Jan-31-2010

 
Hazel
The head Hen Hazel

This is our favorite little group of hens. They are quite noisy, extremely bossy and have endless curiousity. That all being said, it has come time to put these girls to work….tilling.

Last Fall I decided to remove a concrete patio that sits in an area above the coop & the fun field (dog ball-throwing area). In doing so, the choked earth beneath the nasty concrete was now exposed. Favorite scratching ground for some busy hens. With the chicken tractor positioned over this area, Hazel and her pals  spent the afternoon, pecking, scratching & pooping. They weren’t real happy about being confined in the tractor until I dumped a load of my compost (full of red worms) at their feet. Oh Boy! You’d think they were digging to China. Dirt was flying. This  gives them all something useful to do instead of bullying poor Alice. It’s also super great for the soil and helps me ready this area for some Spring planting. Since this group is easily scooped up (very little hen chasing involved), I single-handedly got them back to the hen yard after a few hours.

Alice

Alice

Alice update…here’s a recent pic of sweet, Alice. She flew up on the fence this morning when I came down with treats. She no longer hides out in the coop, but is joining all the girls out in the yard during the day. She looks healthy & I can tell they are no longer pecking her raw. However, Hazel and her team of nasties- still chase her a bit.

Just got my latest ‘Backyard Poultry’ magazine…tune in later for some updated chicken wisdom. Cheers!

Chicken-Launch off John’s head…

Posted by Momma Hen on Jan-31-2010

John & Leo (alias: Chicken-boy) were doing their daily check- the-chickens & throw out some corn scratch. Not sure exactly what happened, but while gathering some  scratch from the bucket, one of the hens flew up at John’s head- basically using his head as a launching post, propelling herself ever closer to the sacred corn scratch. I thought dogs were crazy.

Hazelville Hens