Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Chicken Porn

If you're a long time reader of ours, you might have caught on to Carrie's obsession with fluffy chicken butts. Read How Not to Name a Chicken for more proof. But I didn't realize how much my flock of girls had in common with adult entertainment until I installed an internet filter on my computer. Now I get gigged for the silliest of typos.

Take for instance a Facebook page I visit called Chicken Chat. Seemingly innocent enough until someone on the page starts talking about naked neck chickens. Yes. Naked necks. Not only is my filter unbiased towards species, but evidently it's Muslim too. Geez. This thing doesn't know me at all... I'm a thigh lover.

That got me thinking of other incidents gone awry... like a month ago when we needed a logo for the Oak Cliff Coop Snoop tour. I entered the first thing that came to mind in the search engine to kick off the design process: Chicks. Snap! I didn't mean that, I meant cocks. Dang it! Forget it. I'll go look at an archaic encyclopedia. Who knew making chicken tour logos was such risque business?

A few days ago were were looking for pictures of small chickens to identify what breeds we got with our mystery batch three weeks ago. Did you know that typing in Production Red Chicks will give you a picture of a Production (Lady of the Night) Chick on a Red couch? Oops. Let's try white chicks. Shoot! Dare we go for any other color of our innocent chicks? I think not. 

We here at Pigs believe that our blog is more than just a journal. We believe that we should contribute to the well being of our subscribers, so as a public service to my readers, I've made a list of items you should avoid to keep your filter happy. If you want to find out what chickens give the most eggs, don't type in "Easy Layers"; and if you want to know if anything about "sex-links", just trust me, they're an awesome breed. Don't enter "How to properly sex a chicken" when you get that batch of fluff balls... just wait. Finally, when the temperature gets up to 108, it's in your best interest to put a fan on them with a block of ice instead of googling "How to cool off your hot chicks."   -Jason

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Double Bubble: Yang Laid a Double-Yolker!

A few nights ago, as I checked the nest box one last time, I was elated to actually witness the 'birthing' of a freakishly huge egg. By far the biggest we've ever experienced here at Pigs. As Yang (one of our two biggest hens) popped it out - I knew we were in for something special.

I grabbed the still-glistening orb and ran to the front of the house yelling Jason's name all of the way. He was already in the car, about to head to a baseball game. I think he thought I'd lost my mind. But this was the proverbial golden egg, more than worthy of some fanfare.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves....

Note I couldn't even close the carton!

The first double-yolker Jason's ever seen, and only my second -
but my last one was 22 years ago!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Store's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

Just ask. It doesn't hurt and the worse thing that can happen is you get a no. Tonight I went to the store for some tomatoes, cilantro, and some fruit. As usual, the produce clerks were working the racks and in this instance pulling off tomatoes that had gone bad.

The clerk was a nice young man who evidently was making attempts to learn the English language but hadn't made it to fluent. He was making more progress than I because the only word I knew in Spanish was El Pollo... Chicken. After several seconds of hand gestures, his broken english, and my one word, I was able to communicate to him what I wanted. I've asked clerks in the past for their rotting produce and gotten the standard no and go away, but this guy was especially helpful and pleaded my case before the manager on the next isle. The answer was yes!  Total booty- 15 lbs of ripe tomatoes.

I threw some in to the coop tonight as soon as I got home, about 7:45 at night. You'd better believe that one of the few things that will pull a chicken out of the coop after she's gone in is a beautiful red ripe tomato. They were in heaven, the landfill's slightly less full, my wallet has a few extra bucks in it, and I'm sure I'll get red eggs from my girls tomorrow. Everyone wins! -Jason

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chillin With my Ladies: How we're blowing away the heatwave.

It's no secret we are in the midst of a major heatwave here in Dallas. Temperatures today topped just over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with indexes in the high teens. To top things off, we've had one small rain event in the past two months. My home is conditioned at a frigid 82 degrees and I say frigid because it feels like a meat locker when I come in from the outside.

There's no escape for our flock though. The heat keeps coming and thankfully we haven't lost a single chicken yet. I've recently got some advice from Dun Hagan Gardening that the secret to keep Chickens alive in a heat wave is a three part recipe.

1. Shade, shade, and more shade. That's one thing we're at no loss for. The aviary is under a big Pecan tree and it's covered again by a shade tarp to keep out hawks.

2. Clean, fresh, cool water. Check. We got that too. We even put ice cubes in it. We stop short at the frozen margaritas, though. (We don't want to spoil them.)

3. Air circulation. No check. The shade tarp does a good job of fending off wind. There's little to no circulation in the aviary.

I decided that when the temps outside are 110, that we're gambling with their lives. I'll spare you all of the details, but suffice it to say that Wal-Mart is not my favorite place to purchase things. Two fans later, we now have circulation in our coop. A large fan was purchased, and works beautifully to keep the big chicks chilled a little. They even stopped panting!

A large box fan for the large chickens...

...and a small fan for the small chickens.

I decided to get a little fancier with the small birds. I built a small cage and placed in it a frozen 2 litter bottle of water in front of a small fan as an impromptu a/c unit. The jury is still out on that one, but at a minimum, they do have air circulating in their pens. -Jason

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicken Scrum and Heat Mitigation

We've been worried about the extreme heat here in Texas over the past weeks and its effect on our chickens. Unfortunately it is expected to get worse - if that's even possible. This entire week is supposed to be between 106-108 degrees with the heat index around 115! Horrendous, depressing, draining - every bad adjective and verb you can imagine! We've been adding ice to their water 3 times per day, and between 12pm and 8pm, every hour, we hose the chickens down with cold water. It does seem to help a bit - but they continue to pant as if their lives depended on it - and, sadly, they do!

So you can imagine my surprise when I went out there a few days ago and found all of the "babies" huddled as close as they could possibly get to one another - a veritable chicken scrum! Except instead of chasing a rugby ball they were each determined to find the deepest, coolest section of dirt they could lay their feathers on. I guess they're not too bad off if they must lay as close as they possibly can to one another.  These girls never cease to entertain! -Carrie

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pears for Dessert!

A few weeks ago Jason wrote about the pear harvest we gleaned from a neighbor's tree (detailed here). Tonight I had the pleasure (truly!) of using some of the Seckels in a scrumptious Pear-Cranberry-Almond-Phyllo pastry. These things are to die for! All I did was google "Pears and Phyllo Dough" and those ingredients in the fourth result caught my eye immediately. The directions are slightly lengthy, but these are very easy to make. Unfortunately they were gobbled up so fast I wasn't able to get a picture. I will definitely be making them again in the very near future. -Carrie

Click here for the recipe!