Chickens and Chooks

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
I had a post or two about my chickens in the Gardeners thread, but I think we should have a thread for poultry, so here I am, hoping other people have birds and will want to participate. 🐔

My own adventures started about 7 years ago and since then I've had five or so different breeds and built two coops and two runs, learning from my mistakes each time. Currently I'm working on their "winter palace" because I have a rooster who is a delicate flower. I had him in my house for three months last year because it was too cold outside - I do not recommend. Everyone asks, why don't you just send him to freezer camp? Among other reasons, he's a lovely bird who also gives me the power to make more chickens. So the winter palace is double walled, caulked on the inside, with a radiant heater in addition to the hanging, heated water bucket inside the run that is fully enclosed in greenhouse tarps and clear plastic. Spoiled brats. All of them! Meanwhile I have about 30-40 dozen eggs (or more, that's a rough guess based on the capacity of the fridge...which is currently full of eggs and two gallons of maple syrup) that my family is like, "ew, we don't want to eat those" so I do crazy things like make a quadruple batch of ice cream batter and freeze it.

My other other other (other?) thing that I do is teach an adult education class about chickens once a year in the fall. Every year that I teach I realize that there's stuff missing from my lecture and have to revise. My next class is coming up in just under two weeks - what is something you wished you had known before getting chickens? Or a hard lesson you learned after getting chickens?

Also any recipes that use vast quantities of eggs?

So for checking this out, I will give you a gift. If you have ever tried to peel fresh eggs that you've hard boiled, you know what a nightmare it is. I'm going to give you the secret:

Put them in the pressure cooker.
5 minutes cook, 5 minutes natural release, and drop them into cold water/an ice water bath. The shells slide right off.

Also the float test checks the age of the egg, not whether or not it's spoiled.
 

SWest

That's interesting...
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
21,925
Reaction score
9,746
Location
Where the Moon can see me.
Website
www.etsy.com
We have a small property and close neighbors, so full-on chickens will be a no-go (noise, mostly). Also don't want to attract rats from the state park ponds behind us.

I'm in the process of considering how to convert a crate-top into a space for some Button Quail enclosures indoors. I think Coturnix might be too smelly, even in small numbers.

You probably have a lot of self-sufficient neighbors, but have you tried cr*igslist, ho*bly, or F*acebook to off-load the odd dozen eggs?

Eggs are my primary protein...I add them to everything possible. Casseroles, soda breads/pancakes, sweet potato souffle (pie without the sugar), salad. Would the kids be interested in a breakfast-for-dinner sausage/bacon/meat/veg/potato casserole/frittata?

*puts out the coffee supplies*
 

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
We have a small property and close neighbors, so full-on chickens will be a no-go (noise, mostly). Also don't want to attract rats from the state park ponds behind us.
I am just going to curl up into a ball right here. A whole section of my chicken class is talking about rats.
I'm in the process of considering how to convert a crate-top into a space for some Button Quail enclosures indoors. I think Coturnix might be too smelly, even in small numbers.
I've discovered that birds in general are smelly. Waterfowl are the worst for sure.
You probably have a lot of self-sufficient neighbors, but have you tried cr*igslist, ho*bly, or F*acebook to off-load the odd dozen eggs?

Eggs are my primary protein...I add them to everything possible. Casseroles, soda breads/pancakes, sweet potato souffle (pie without the sugar), salad. Would the kids be interested in a breakfast-for-dinner sausage/bacon/meat/veg/potato casserole/frittata?

*puts out the coffee supplies*
I am going to be doing some egg muffins, which can be frozen apparently, along with making the ice cream batter. Probably some french toast for dinner.

So many people in our area have chickens and are selling eggs that it's driven the price down (even as the cost of chicken feed has gone up), not to mention having weirdos coming to my house, or having to meet said weirdos. I am very, very, very concerned about a food shortage and frankly I'd rather have things prepared with the eggs so I can store them to use later, unfortunately the little f-ers can't really be stored raw aside from a freeze drier, and the technology isn't there for home use. Worst case scenario I scramble and freeze them to feed back to the chickens. That's what I did with the goose eggs I blew out a few weeks ago.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SWest

SWest

That's interesting...
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
21,925
Reaction score
9,746
Location
Where the Moon can see me.
Website
www.etsy.com
...I've discovered that birds in general are smelly. ...
Pretty much pure ammonia dripping out their back ends. :ROFL: Evolution never planned on them being domesticated, but they're good for plants.

Breads of all kinds freeze pretty well if you have the space. But people do freeze raw eggs lots of ways. They're not everlasting, but they will keep:


If DH is handy, he could build you a freeze dryer...y*utube is silly with plans for them.

Shell-on boiled eggs make great dog treats, and are a great protein-calcium base for dog foods. They're great cat food.
...having weirdos coming to my house, or having to meet said weirdos. ...
*shudders*

Yeah, don't have people come to the house. I always meet up at a police station parking lot. Weirdos either cancel the appointment or behave themselves temporarily. :greenie
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brigid Barry

mrsmig

Write. Write. Writey Write Write.
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
7,846
Reaction score
2,982
Location
Virginia
I wish I lived near you, Brigid. I love fresh-laid eggs (especially duck eggs). I used to work with a fellow actress who raised chickens on the side, and would buy a dozen from her when she had them to spare. There's just nothing like an egg, poached medium, with a piece of buttered toast for breakfast.
 

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
I love my fresh eggs. They are beautiful visually and also taste wonderful. They do last quite a while in the fridge, our production is just exceeding demand. I intend to torture my children, one of whom is demanding protein. Honey, love you, go eat some damned eggs.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: mrsmig and SWest

ChaseJxyz

Writes 🏳️‍⚧️🌕🐺 and 🏳️‍⚧️🌕🐺 accessories
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
3,458
Reaction score
3,911
Location
The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast
Website
www.chasej.xyz
I don't have chickens, would love to have some if I ever get a house. Also I...don't like eating eggs. So finding things to do WITH the eggs would be a challenge lol.

You can [make and can lemon curd, which lasts a few months]. And since it's water bath canning it isn't too ridiculous to do. idk how expensive lemons are over there, though, they're very cheap here. But that only uses egg yolks, you can use the whites for meringue/meringue cookies, which also freeze very well.

Also, pickled eggs? I know those exist, is that a thing you'd eat?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brigid Barry

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
I don't have chickens, would love to have some if I ever get a house. Also I...don't like eating eggs. So finding things to do WITH the eggs would be a challenge lol.

You can [make and can lemon curd, which lasts a few months]. And since it's water bath canning it isn't too ridiculous to do. idk how expensive lemons are over there, though, they're very cheap here. But that only uses egg yolks, you can use the whites for meringue/meringue cookies, which also freeze very well.

Also, pickled eggs? I know those exist, is that a thing you'd eat?
There are chickens who aren't big egg producers, for when you decide to get something!

For this weekend I am doing ice cream, which takes 8 egg yolks per batch. Then some breakfast egg cups and I am going to try meringue cookies with the leftover whites. That should help me catch up at least!

Otherwise we have breakfast for dinner sometimes with eggs in a starting role. I made a quiche that I thought was lovely but no one else liked. More or less the same with frittata.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SWest

Unimportant

Takes a firm stance on crit pro quo
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
13,261
Reaction score
12,460
Location
Aotearoa
I have way, way, waaaaay too many chooks. Totally free range. They even used to wander into the house; I once came home and found the dog asleep on her couch and a chook asleep roosting on the back of the couch. Then we (stupidly) got a setter that is a total bird-dog, so we had to fence the chooks out of the front yard so he doesn't kill them all. No more chooks in the house. Kinda sad. But other than that they've got the run of the property (and the neighbours' properties....not sure how they feel about that, admittedly).

Ours are mostly Orpingtons.

They are delicious, roasted. But Orpies are very much light-cycle dependent for laying. So we get waaaaay too many eggs in summer, and bloody zilch from about April to September. Grrr. When we have no eggs, our diet becomes eggless, because I refuse to buy eggs (particularly any that aren't truly, truly free-range). And store bought eggs taste like chalk. When we have too many eggs, I give them to the local school for their breakfast in school programme, or one of the local kai sheds that provide free food to whoever needs it. We have plenty of those around, as we live in a really low-decile area. Except for the eggless winter, we generally have eggs on toast for dinner once a week.

Freezing eggs: I have had no luck whatsoever. Well, okay, egg whites freeze well, and whip up even better after a spell in the freezer. But frozen yolks, alone or with whites or with sugar or with salt, come out pasty and fishy-tasting. Yick. Challah bread freezes well, though (bread made with eggs and butter and honey and flour rather than water and flour). And it's pretty, if you make it braided (and then glaze it with beaten egg, because challah is all about the egg). And it makes faboo French toast (which adds even more egg; vanilla and cinnamon optional but recommended).

I wonder if you could freeze hard boiled eggs? I might have to give that a try.

We have three big coops: Big Coop (which is tall enough for me to stand in, has leather curtains over the nest boxes to provide modesty and privacy, and is easy to clean); Barn Coop (which is shaped and looks like a barn); Twin Coop (which is a coop divided into two, each side perfect for a mum and clutch of babies); and several little ones that can hold one mum and babies or 2 - 3 adults. These serve both as places the hens can lay, and places mums can rear their chicks. We make them pretty, so we have one that looks like a Log Cabin, one that looks like a Castle complete with turrets, and I'm in the process of making one that looks like a Roman Villa with a mosaic floor.

But there are three young roosters who have decided to roost in my lilac bush, and they're breaking all the branches, so those buggers really need to go to, as Brigid puts it, Camp Freezer.
 

mrsmig

Write. Write. Writey Write Write.
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
7,846
Reaction score
2,982
Location
Virginia
I'm fascinated. I want to see photos of all these coops.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SWest

SWest

That's interesting...
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
21,925
Reaction score
9,746
Location
Where the Moon can see me.
Website
www.etsy.com
...I wonder if you could freeze hard boiled eggs? I might have to give that a try. ...
People do...I wonder, though, if the omega-3s (that give all eggs varying degrees of fishy flavor - depends on how one feeds the birds) might intensify, just as in your frozen raw yolks. Experiment with 1 and report back! :greenie
 

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
I have also been informed of something called water glassing, where fresh eggs are dropped into a lye solution and they'll stay fresh for a year. Trouble is that the eggs have to be perfectly clean to do it - without being wiped or cleaned in any way. As tidy as the girls might be, the eggs are rarely that clean.
 

ElaineB

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 4, 2022
Messages
316
Reaction score
659
Location
Three Pines
Website
elaineburnes.com
Is there anything you can do about a rooster who crows from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.? (Two of them, I think.) That's the big controversy in town these days. Neighbors aren't happy. Thankfully, not my part of town. As it is I sometimes hear one faintly, or on a walk and always think, Glad I don't have to listen to that all day.

Weirdly, the owner said he has them to provide meat for his family (for breeding, that is) because he can't afford otherwise. Yet he's spending thousands on a shed that's supposed to keep things quiet. Seems to me he could have bought a lot of chicks for the price of the shed.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: SWest

pdblake

New kid, be gentle!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 8, 2010
Messages
532
Reaction score
1,207
Location
East Yorks, England
I have also been informed of something called water glassing, where fresh eggs are dropped into a lye solution and they'll stay fresh for a year. Trouble is that the eggs have to be perfectly clean to do it - without being wiped or cleaned in any way. As tidy as the girls might be, the eggs are rarely that clean.
Mine have often got more muck than shell. We call it extra "goodness".
 

Unimportant

Takes a firm stance on crit pro quo
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
13,261
Reaction score
12,460
Location
Aotearoa
Is there anything you can do about a rooster who crows from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.? (Two of them, I think.) That's the big controversy in town these days. Neighbors aren't happy. Thankfully, not my part of town. As it is I sometimes hear one faintly, or on a walk and always think, Glad I don't have to listen to that all day.

Weirdly, the owner said he has them to provide meat for his family (for breeding, that is) because he can't afford otherwise. Yet he's spending thousands on a shed that's supposed to keep things quiet. Seems to me he could have bought a lot of chicks for the price of the shed.
It depends on your town's restrictions. Many towns allow hens but not roosters because of the crowing. We're out in the country, so no restrictions other than we're supposed to keep our chooks on our property. So far the neighbours haven't come after us for that breach. The guy 300 meters/yards down the road says he gets awakened by our roosters crowing at 4 am, as do I, but he eats enough of our eggs that he doesn't mind ;)

I think it is possible to surgically de-crow a rooster, but it'd be danged expensive. Particularly given that our roosters generally only live for 6 - 7 years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ElaineB

MacAllister

'Twas but a dream of thee
Staff member
Boss Mare
Administrator
Super Moderator
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
VPX
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
21,958
Reaction score
10,491
Location
Out on a limb
Website
macallisterstone.com
I have fifteen layers, right now, and two Narragansett turkeys waiting for freezer camp, for the upcoming holidays.

One aged black sexlink, and equally aged Welsummer, and the rest a mix of Isa Browns and Easter Eggers.
 

Brigid Barry

Horse Nut
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,166
Reaction score
5,196
Location
Maine, USA
Is there anything you can do about a rooster who crows from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.? (Two of them, I think.) That's the big controversy in town these days. Neighbors aren't happy. Thankfully, not my part of town. As it is I sometimes hear one faintly, or on a walk and always think, Glad I don't have to listen to that all day.
Freezer camp is about it. The cartoons were a lie - they crow all hours of the day or night. Anything soundproof is unfortunately not going to have adequate ventilation.
Weirdly, the owner said he has them to provide meat for his family (for breeding, that is) because he can't afford otherwise. Yet he's spending thousands on a shed that's supposed to keep things quiet. Seems to me he could have bought a lot of chicks for the price of the shed.
Probably. Setup costs aside, raising poultry is more expensive that when you can get from the grocery store shelves that are stocked via factory farming.

ETA: I got 7 dozen eggs out of the fridge. Partly because at least a dozen were garbage.
 
  • Hug
  • Like
Reactions: ElaineB and SWest

ap123

Twitching
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 4, 2007
Messages
5,564
Reaction score
1,508
Location
In the 212
I'm wildly jealous of all, always wanted to be able to keep chickens. Since it isn't an option on the Upper West Side, I'm loving this thread.

*for something you can cook regularly that uses a bunch of eggs without actually being an egg dish, have you made popovers?
 
  • Love
Reactions: SWest