coopandthegang

The Adventures Of Coop & The Gang

One Egg, Two Eggs, Three Eggs, Four October 30, 2011

Following some quality time with the girls yesterday, some great twitter chicken chat & some really great blogs digested through the day go me thinking. Recently I’d thought we’d become a little too boring for others to enjoy, they feed, waters & snuffle. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This mornings extra hour of awake time we all gained from the change from BST back to GMT got me thinking, the girls are still in fine egg but with the recent changes in my routine they’ve mostly been gifted on to friends in the street & colleagues at work & I really haven’t been taking time to enjoy them nor their hard work. With a perfect glut on my hands & eggs balanced here there & everywhere the mission was set.

Chickens snuffling & clucking around the garden, two recipes found & the days agenda set. A home made ice cream that doesn’t require an ice cream maker made from 6 eggs, sugar, cream & vanilla extract & a lime curd from 4 eggs, 6 limes, 1 lemon, sugar & butter, om nom.

A trip out to source as much local produce as possible was a success with a new farm shop, complete with chickens & reindeer for local cream & butter & a commercial shop stop for citrus ingredients, sugar top up & an electric whisk, revolutionary.

Ice cream 6 eggs split, whites beaten until firm but not dry, slowly adding sugar, while whisking double cream till thick & beating eggs yolks & vanilla. Fold in & freeze for 8 hours, phew, the ice cream should be ready to serve at 8.10pm tonight after a short stint in the fridge. A rumour from the glass bowl is that it tasted just like melted ice cream before it went in the freezer so I think we might be on to a winner.

Now onto the curd, grate the zest of 6 limes into a bowl, juice the naked fruit & the lemon. Add A LOT of sugar, four whole eggs & cubed butter, mix & gently heat in the bowl over a rolling boil until the sugar has dissolved, keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring & wait till its thickened, pour into sterilised jars & seal. Lick bowl.

The ice cream as with all raw egg products isn’t advised for the elderly, pregnant or small children but we don’t fall into any of those categories, a wonderful morning in the kitchen & the perfect long lasting sweet treats we can enjoy long after egg production has slowed.

 

Coop du jour October 29, 2011

A funny couple of weeks for Coop & The Gang, we’ve had thick frost on the hen house, soggy feet, scratching, pecking & the odd tantrum & thats just Coop & me.

We’re still not lice free with top hen Mave still carrying, with colder nights & more snuggling she’s passing them back round the hen house nicely. No eggs on Flo & Doris, but a three day dust down routine started. A little more reading, some feathers plucked & scrapped & two handed we were through all the girls relatively quickly & pain free.

Solo chicken dusting was much less successful, thoughts of ‘you only cost me £15’, ‘you dumb bird’ & the classic Dr Cox ‘help me to help you’.  Scratched, abused & somewhat later than planned we were all having a strop & not talking to each other. More tomorrow & we’ll check the state of play.

Chicken club at work has lost a member with them on to pastures new, but promises of advice from a friend at football club may give a vitamin dosage that will help Mave keep strong & bug free through the winter months. I’m finding it useful to learn from others, we swap tips, advice, articles & CEOs wife sends him with the hen welfare magazines for me to read. His bantum is currently on eggs, his cockrel very proud. One day, this too will be mine.

We’re still in egg & fine spirits, just a missed day following my girls facing their own mortality with their ghostly appearence. I’ve treated them to some fattier treats this week including meal worms & I’ve never been so popular.

My girls have fulfilled a life long fantasy, when Im out with them they follow me around like Im mummy, they’re so funny looking but I love them.

 

Long Stretch To Winter October 1, 2011

Well don’t I feel a little bit of a fraud writing this on the 1st October with crop trousers and a t-shirt on with the back door open, the gang out mooching and sunbathing but this week I really thought the long stretch to winter was on its way.

The icey feel of the poop coop scooper in my hand, the morning feed at 6:40am when they didn’t get up, the 9pm get homes and they’re all ready asleep and the final blow on Thursday, no eggs. Not a single one.

I knew this day would come, at first suggestions of local neighbour thievery sprang to both our minds, following cat scarergate anything round here is possible, but after checking the house and the garage for smashed egg stains that seemed highly unlikely, if you were going to steal eggs and think you were going to get away with it you’d steal one from the three every day not all of them. Thievery a side it really is getting to that time of year

Chickens, like humans, don’t come to any harm in the cooler months unless there is long periods of sub zero temperatures and to them it’s not cold till its sub zero but winter in the coop often means a decrease in egg production and cold grumpy chickwans.

A Chickens ability to lay is down to the pineal gland, which operates based on daylight, a decrease in daylight means a limited ability to lay. To keep up egg production over the winters months then incandescent bulbs are ideal for keeping birds in lay but as eggs are not vital to the functioning of the gang in this family I think we’ll wing our first winter together and see how we get on just as we are.

It’s the keeping warm bit I’m more worried about since the outbreak…and constant louse problem with have with Mave, all straw and hay has been on ban and with the problem under control rather than gone I am reluctant to start filling the coop up.

Coop has the necessary roost space for all our birds to fluff their feathers up and have a snuggle, I am looking forward to attempting to make them warm porridge with layers mash and we have plenty of water receptacles to swap in and out should the ice bite.

We’ll put some thought to the deep litter method if we’ve moved, its essentially composting in the coop while the chickens are in there but from reading the forums does generate some heat that might just keep the wind from whistling.

We’ll see, bring it on. I may get some saddles and knit some bobble hats!