"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Settling in

DumDum & DeeDee have settled into their new home wonderfully.

So much so, that DumDum has started crowing.  At first he sounded absolutely pathetic, but he has worked on it, and now spends much of his day chatting crowing backwards and forwards with our neighbour's rooster.
DumDum just after
a crowing session ;)
He gets so excited
that he stands on
tip-toes to crow lol
I wonder what they discuss...?
DumDum and DeeDee have taken
 to coming right up to the kitchen
door every afternoon - when they
think  it is suppertime...!  It
doesn't take them long to learn
my routine, does it?
Cheeky blighters!
And, even bigger, more exciting news - DeeDee has started laying eggs.

On Monday late afternoon, RMan went to get the alpacas their lucerne from the ½ water tank in which we store it - away from the field mice.
Can you spot what RMan saw...?
As he bent down to grab an armful, he spotted something in the far right corner - her first egg.
DeeDee cleared a spot to lay her very first egg.
How she got in there - and what made her go in there specifically, I have no idea.  Our neighbour, who gave us the chickens, said he didn't expect them to start laying for another couple of months.  Because of that, I hadn't prepared a nesting spot for her.  So, she found her own.
A recycled, "opened" quad bike tyre makes a perfect
high sided nesting box.
We went to town the next day and got a 2nd hand used quadbike tyre from a tyre shop - they are soft enough to open up the sides and it is more than fit for it's purpose - she immediately began laying an egg in it from the day we installed it inside the coop.

Various feeding possibilities have been tried, but invariably DumDum knocked them over.

Googling, there are plenty of ideas, but all involved purchasing something.  I wanted to use what we already had.

So, I came up with this idea...
The chickens feed (and water) gutter bowl
I took a small (30cms / 1') section of rain gutter, PVC welded the end caps on, and it has been fixed to the side of the water tank frame chicken coop.  The front has not been snapped into the gutter supports, so it is easy to remove and clean - when necessary.

I've done the same with their water gutter bowl - although the supports are more securely cable-tied to the frame.  I need to move the water bowl to the left hand side of the coop though, because DumDum literally gets beside himself with excitement when he sees me arriving in the morning to let them out and climbs right onto / inside it.

The feed gutter is working well - the sides are high enough that, when they eat,  the feed doesn't land on the floor thereby attracting field mice - not that they leave a scrap in it.  Their rations of sunflower seeds, mealies (corn) lentils, pearl barley and oat seed gets polished off in 15 minutes.  The rest of the time - well, they need to forage for their food - can't have any slackers here lol.

Talking about that, my herb tower has been struggling, so RMan and I tipped the contents out onto the driveway today.  I lost count of how many cutworm they found,and devoured...  No wonder the herb tower was struggling!  That will have to be refilled with fresh soil mixed with alpaca and chicken poo :D

So, now that the feathered family is happy and content, I had to decide what to do with the very first egg.

And decided on this recipe :)
4 ingredient sweetcorn bread
 4 Ingredient Mealie Bread (sweetcorn bread)

500gm self-raising flour
1 X 415gm (14gm)tin of creamed sweetcorn
1 X 385gm (13oz) tin condensed milk (less the 2 tablesspoons that RMan and I licked off a spoon - talk about childhood memories...!)
1 X egg - beaten
Soft, slightly sweet and definitely delicious
Mealie bread
Sift the flour.  Add the sweetcorn and beaten egg to the flour.  Mix well then add the tin of condensed milk.  Ensure that it is all well mixed then put into your loaf tin (I made it in the bread-making machine - set on "bake" only and cooked it for 1½ hours (but you can also make it in the oven pre-heated to 180°C / 360°F for 40 - 50 minutes.)  Prick the loaf with a skewer to ensure that it is cooked through at 40 minutes.  Then remove from the bread machine, and then the loaf tin and allow to cool before digging in - if you can wait that long...?

Quite.  Deliciously.  Yummy.
Toasted mealie bread with grated cheese for breakfast anyone?
And, toasted, and topped with some grated cheese left over from spag bol, and a cup of tea - it makes the perfect start to a busy day.

Be warned.  It is definitely more-ish... :)

14 comments:

  1. Great news on the egg front, they are working well for you, the gutter troughs are a good idea I might adapt that with a wide gutter for the goats and alpacas :-)

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    Replies
    1. Dawn - we used the same system for the alpaca's maintenance meal :) Works very well.

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  2. How exciting! That gutter trough is very ingenious. I will have to remember that when we get our chickens someday.

    And that bread...I've never heard of that but wow, does it sound good! Will try that ourselves. Thanks!!!

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    Replies
    1. 1st Man - You (or 2nd Man) won't regret trying the recipe - definitely more-ish.

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  3. I like your chickens. When I feed mine, I just get a coffee can, dip it into the feed sack, and then scatter the grain. They get two cans a day in summer, more in winter.

    I liked that video you gave me the clip for. I wanted to put it on my blog, but you can only get the embed code if you have a facebook account, and I don't.

    ;-(

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    Replies
    1. Harry - I scatter them a small handful in the morning - to say hello. They get it in the trough in the evening when I want them to go into their coop. Never fails ;)

      Why not take a screen shot of the clip - and post it together with the link?

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  4. Hi Dani! Love those chickens! I do not know if you have already maybe heard of this man, Geoff Lawton? You might like to see his visions on permaculture or farming, whichever way you look at it. You can find him on GeoffLawton.com. I am sure lots of readers will enjoy looking at this man's ideas. Congrats on your hen's first eggs!

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    Replies
    1. Marlene - I haven;t heard of him - thanks - I'll check him out...

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  5. Sign me up for breakfast! That looks delicious.

    So glad to hear about your eggs! That's always exciting news. I have to say, however, that even with lovingly built nest boxes, ours continue to insist on finding their own laying spots! We have an egg hunt every day.

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    Replies
    1. Leigh - T'was yummy lol

      Ooooh, hunting for eggs could be fun - but not so much every day...! Apparently chickens lay in the mornings, so why not try leaving them i their coop until they lay...?

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  6. Oh how wonderful to have fresh eggs! Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. Melissa - Thanks. We're thoroughly enjoying the freshest eggs we've ever eaten :)

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  7. Dum and Dee look very contented and happy - not surprised you already have an egg given how much care you have put in to giving them such lovely living conditions :-)

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    Replies
    1. Jayne - They certainly are characters. S'funny, I always thought chickens were - well, chickens. But they're more than that. :)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)