Thursday, June 30, 2016

Eggs! Well, Egg!

Lots happening but one of the girls gave us our first egg!

New egg
We got them, our hens, just 11 days ago and after all the reading, we expected to have to wait a bit longer. What, with all the stress of re-location, wing clipping, internment inside the coop for a week neither JoAnn nor I thought it would happen for another week or so at least. 
But here it is, I half expected a mis-shapen thing but then remembered these were proven layers, granted, this statement may have been an overzealous sales pitch from the old owner, but it is egg shaped and beautiful. It is also small. I haven't researched the size parameters of eggs yet, but when compared to the ones in the carton in our fridge, it is small. 

JoAnn and I both heard the hens futzing around this morning, but when we checked on them no eggs. This afternoon about one-ish we again heard the cackling of a hen but thought nothing of it. At 2:30 I went out to paint part of the pen where I had welded it some days before, I checked them to make sure they had water and feed. It has been hot lately and as part of the checks, I try to make sure they have nest material in their nests. Today I opened the panel and checked the first three we keep straw in and nothing. The last two boxes we have old t-shirts in the boxes because the past owner had used them for his boxes. The egg was in the first of the two. We'll be changing all the nest boxes to T-shirts tomorrow.

Home for wormsWe have been supplementing their feed of cracked corn scratch and layer crumble with veggie leftovers and a handful of meal worms (they go absolutely gaga over these!) so much so we have decided we are going to be farming them as well! I ordered 5000 live meal worms off Amazon and they are due in, well today, but seem to be held up for now. I expect they will be in tomorrow. I have a home for them already, primed with food, veggies for their water source and layers for separating the larvae from the adult beetles and a separate 'nursery' drawer for the young to get to adolescence. Since we only need 3 drawers, these Sterilite® stacking drawers were perfect for them. We got two because I felt that even the larvae needed a bit of space. We'll split them evenly at 2500 per three drawer unit. 

These truly are wonder worms:
>4 life cycles
      Egg--> Larvae--> Pupae --> Adult Beetle
>Their waste is fertilizer
>They have wings but do not fly
>The chickens will eat them at any of the 4 stages
>Humans can eat them as well! 
>They use scraps for their food source
>Carrots and potatoes are their water source
Styrofoam recyclers>and they are one of the only organisms that can eat STYROFOAM as their only food source!

I will be running an experiment to see how our birds like the Styrofoam fed vs. oatmeal fed worms. I'll post the results in a later post. 
 

Other big news: We recovered another of the lost chickens so we now have 5 of the original 6. She came to eat from the food JoAnn left out for them and got caught up in some of the leftover netting I had piled up after making the aviary 'roof' to the pen. We haven't heard the 6th for a while and we both are thinking that she may be lost to the Free Range Feral chickens gang that seems to be everywhere on the island. We are already planning to make up for this loss by getting a few more. And then there are the meat birds to get. I guess its time for the Chicken Math post so next time- Chicken Math! 

  

Image credits:
Styrofoam eating worms- http://www.popsci.com/mealworms-can-safely-devour-plastics
Cluck: http://www.zazzle.com/cluck+gifts
Chicken with Balloons: https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/c/chicken_run.asp
Photos not credited are our own and are copyrighted by AirBornCreations

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