Whatcha Doin Mom!? Crowing Hens!?!?

Crowing Hens

It is usually the male chicken that will say “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

Did you know that there are some female chickens that will belt out their best “cock-a-doodle-doo” too?

Although it is not very common, sometimes in all-female flocks, or flocks in which the ratio of females to males is greater than 10:1. That is when one female will take on male characteristics and become the “protector” over the rest of the flock. In addition to coming out with a half-crow, she’ll usually cease laying, and she may even develop spurs to rival a male’s.

Here is a video of my hen, Ellie, who used to crow. At the time of when the video was taken, we did have a rooster but they were younger and not yet crowing. When Ellie went through her crowing phase, her egg production did not slow down. Now that we have 9 roosters, I have not noticed her crowing.

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Making Easy Homemade Bread In the Oven

Making Easy Homemade Bread In the Oven

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of active dry yeast
  • 2 TSP sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter

How To Make It:

Stir water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Wait a few minutes until yeast becomes foamy. Add butter, salt and flour and stir. Knead dough for several minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Half the dough and put in two greased pans. Let set for 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 min until golden brown. Remove from pans and enjoy!

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Homemade Laundry Sauce

Homemade Laundry Sauce

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What you need:

  • 1  Bar of Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 Cup of Borax
  • 2 quart sized jars (regular)
  • blender (make sure the jars fit your blender before mixing)

Optional-

  • 4 scoops of powdered oxyclean ( I use the generic and works great)
  • 1/4 cup  of scent booster, I use Gain. OR you can use a few drops of your favorite essensial oils if you are trying to avoid chemicals.

*All of above items can be found in the laundry isle at Wal-mart

 

How to Make Laundry Sauce:

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Take a knife and cut the bar of Fels-Naptha in half. Take the half pieces and cut into smaller pieces and divide between the two jars.

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Add 1/4 cup of scent booster or essential oils. Boil 4 cups of water.

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Once water comes to a boil, divide between the two jars.

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Put lids back on the jars. Let jars set overnight (12-24 hrs) until the solution gels and becomes a solid.

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Add 1/2 cup of Borax, 1/2 cup of washing soda and 2 small scoops of powdered oxyclean to each jar.

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Add boiling water to jar leaving about an inch of head space in the jar. Attach blender blade and bottom to the jar.

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Put the jar on the blender and mix on high until mixed and thickened. (About 15-30 seconds)

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Once the laundry sauce is blended thoroughly it should be thick and have the consistency of mayo.

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Add lids and store in a cool dry place.

How to use:

  • 1 tbsp per load
  • 128 loads in every 2 quarts
  • If you have a front loading washing machine, put the laundry sauce directly in the drum of the washer. DO NOT PUT IN THE DISPENSER! The sauce is too concentrated to go in the detergent dispenser.
  • This detergent is high efficiency machine safe.

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Fun Critter Fact #4

Fun Critter Fact #4

 

A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing!

 

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All of a rabbit’s teeth have open roots, enabling them to constantly grow throughout the rabbit’s life. These teeth can grow 3 to 5 inches annually!

Find out more about rabbit’s dental health here – Why Rabbits teeth never stop growing.

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Fun Critter Fact #3

Fun Critter Facts #3

An emu can run over 30+ MPH!

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Emus can sprint up to 31 mph, so they are not as fast as their primary predators, such as wild cats. However, they have a special advantage over the cats. As a cat is racing full speed after an emu and just about to catch it, the emu will raise one of its wings upward and point the other towards the earth. This causes the emu to swivel around almost 180 degrees, still at top speed and then it takes off in a different direction. The cat cannot turn this quickly, and its momentum will keep it going for about 30 yards, by which time the emu is far away. Over time, the cat will tire and give up the chase.

 

 

 

Find out more emu and ostrich facts by  going to http://www.arubaostrichfarm.com/facts.html

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Fun Critter Fact #2

Fun Critter Facts #2

Chickens don’t pee!!

Critter fact #2

All of their waste comes out in their poop.

Learn more about the chicken’s digestive system by going to http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-digestive-system-of-a-chicken.html

Whatcha Doin Mom!? Fun Critter Facts #1

 

Fun Critter Facts #1

Goats Discovered Coffee!!!

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About 800 AD, an Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi, noticed that when his goats grazed on the coffee plant, the goats were more energized and would keep him up all night. Once Kaldi decided to try the coffee beans, he became more energized and alert.

References

http://www.livescience.com/2535-coffee-changed-world.html

Whatcha Doin Mom!? When It Comes To Emu Taming, You Want A Slow Hand

“You can just call me Heather the emu whisperer…”

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Conway Twitty is our 6-year-old emu that we adopted September 2015! It has been 2 months since he has joined our critter crew! You can read about the why, how and where on Conway’s arrival to our homestead on the previous post We Adopted An Emu And Named Him Conway Twitty.

Here is how the past 2 months of being new emu owners have been going with our Conway Twitty.

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Day 1 of being Heather the emu tamer…

Our fella is pretty wild but non-aggressive. He has pretty much paced back and forth since he got here. It seems that he was not messed with much by humans in his previous home.

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The goats and our chickens are terrified of Conway. Buddy (our male goat) and the rabbits have been brave enough to step outside a few times but don’t let him get too close. Idgie and Ruth (our female goats) have only came out for a very short time while either my husband or I have been in the pen with them.

He is eating, drinking and pooing well. BTW his poo has been the size of a large chicken poo. I was expecting a large nasty cow pie. 😉

We have had our first bonding moment as he was cooling off by the baby pool where he let me pet him and feed him a few pieces of bread.

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Right now I am trying to get him used to me touching him as he walks by me to know that I am not a threat.

Hopefully in the next few days his nerves will settle and everyone will get used to each other.

Baby steps…

 

Day 2, You can now call me the emu whisperer...

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Making progress! He finally let me touch him other than running by me. When he finally calmed down he laid his head on my arm and let me rub him. He loves it when I rub his beak. I mean eyes rolled back LOVES it! He stayed like that for about 10 min and is a lot calmer after loving on him than he was before.

 

Day 4 of being Heather the emu whisperer…

Making progress!

I can now easily get a hold of him and gain control. He seems to trust me more each day. I have been able to get him down to the ground a lot easier today than the past few days. I also have been able to stand by Conway and pet him without holding his wings. That is how you gain control of and emu. His wings are maybe a ft long and emus cannot fly.

I do have to gain control first for him to stand by me. We are working on that.

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(Here is a picture of my hubby gaining control over Conway)

Conway LOVES it when I rub his head and will fall asleep in my arms. It calms him down instantly when he gets nervous or scared. It also helps when I whisper “Hello darlin'” in Conway’s ear as I rub his head….. (ok the “hello darlin'” part was completely made up)

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Since I have been emu training/taming, I have gotten a great upper body workout each day. I can feel it! Wrestling this 6ft, 175 lbs bird will do that to ya. 😉

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You know what hurts? When an emu steps on your foot… just so you know. I have been stomped on a few times and I have a few skinned up places on my feet and legs from his big dinosaur feet. Kinda my fault for trying to wrestle a wild emu in shorts and flip-flops.

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I am happy with the progress that has been made with him in such a short amount of time. When we get to the point of trusting each other and he will come when called I will let him free range with the chickens but until then he will be in with the goats day and night. Which we plan to expand to give everyone a little more room.

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2 weeks later… When It Comes To Emu Taming, You Want A Slow Hand.

It has been 2 weeks and it is still weird to look out my kitchen window to see an emu standing in our yard. He still will not come to me but he is a lot easier to gain control over. Once I do gain control over him, he is as sweet as can be. I don’t think he was loved on much before he came to live with us.

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My boys love to feed Conway and once I gain control over him I allow them to pet him. He is not an aggressive bird but VERY nervous acting.

The way we gain control over Conway is; when you approach Conway you need to have a calm voice and a “slow hand” as you grab his wings from behind him.

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Once you grab his wings, make sure you stay behind him because if he kicks up or stomps, he can hurt your feet and/or legs. As you have a hold of both wings you put pressure on his back with your torso until he calms down. Once he calms down, you can guide him where you need him to go by grabbing his wings and pushing down slightly on his body.

One month later… My goats are eating my emu!?!?!

Conway is doing well and is a lot easier to handle but still a lot of work to tame him needs to be done.

He was at first in the pen with the goats. We had to move him into his own temporary pen because my goats were eating his feathers. (Who knew that goats eat emu feathers?!?!) I had noticed that Conway’s feathers on his bottom were getting thin but did think much about it because to all of my chickens are currently molting. I thought maybe emus molt this time of year as well. WRONG!

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I woke up one morning and noticed a HUGE bald spot on his butt! It made me sick when I first saw the bald spot that my goats would do such a thing.

Why did they eat his feathers? Why did he let them? I know that is HAD to hurt.

After finding his bald spot, we put him in his own pen away from the butt-feather-eating-goats, I just had to laugh. Not because it was “ha-ha” funny but because who else in this world has the problem of their goats eating their emu?!?! No one that I know of… Just me.

Conway

Even though he is now in a small pen. We are working on building him a emu hut of his own.

 

2 Months Later… Free Bird

It has now been 2 months since Conway’s arrival. I am now letting Conway out to free range in the yard during the day. We have 1 1/2 acres that is completely fenced in that Conway can roam…

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However, he mainly stays at the fence line near the road. Which gives the neighbors and vehicles passing by something to look at. The kids in the school bus that passes by gets the biggest kick out of seeing Conway. The kids all press their faces against the windows of the bus and wave to our big bird.

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Every night, we round-up Conway and put him back in his pen. This is NOT an easy task. He has learned quickly what we are doing and that when we go to round him up that he is going back into his pen. He does NOT like to be put up now that he has gotten used to free ranging during the day.

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As soon as I guide him towards his pen, he puts his breaks on. It is not an easy job but we get it done.

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I recently made the mistake of wearing shorts and flip-flops (again) while trying to get him in his pen. One night, as I guided him to the doorway of his pen he jumped up and the bottom of his big dinosaur foot (which feels like sandpaper) caught my leg from the top of my thigh down to my foot. It hurt, but I learned my lesson of not wearing shorts and flip-flops while I wrestle my emu.

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Whatcha Doin Mom!? Homemade Italian Seasoning!

Homemade Italian seasoning!

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Made with homegrown tomato, basil and rosemary!

This is my first time dehydrating foods. Not having a dehydrator being the main reason. So I just used my oven.

Here is what I used for my homemade Italian seasoning;

  • Tomato peels
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Basil

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After peeling the tomatoes for my Italian sauce. I evened out the tomato peeling and rosemary on one pan and the basil in another oven safe pan. I set the oven on 180. The basil took about an hour and the tomatoes and rosemary took about 3 and a half hours.

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I then put the dehydrated ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped.

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I will use the seasoning on chicken, pork and other meat dishes. As well as in soups, pasta sauces and pizza! It is so yummy! AND salt free unlike many store-bought seasonings!

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And to think of all of the peelings that I have wasted over the years while canning. They won’t be going to waste any more!!!