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Haehnchen

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About Haehnchen

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. Haehnchen

    Surplus Eggs - recipe ideas needed please.

    I am a German-American whose ancestors moved to Pennsylvania in 1734 who, somewhat ironically, has lived on work assignment back to Germany for the past decade. We had a egg surplus issue last month into which even the Easter holiday couldn't put a dent. Then I remembered some old Pennsylvania Dutch recipes for pickled red beet eggs that my wife and I gave a whirl. http://www.ehow.com/how_4617927_make-dutch-red-beet-eggs.html and http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pickled-Red-Beet-Eggs/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/foodnation-with-bobby-flay/red-beet-eggs-recipe/index.html. We generally hold the onions, but that last recipe with the brown sugar doesn't look too bad a variation. The bottom line is that this is a great way to preserve eggs that might otherwise go bad in the fridge ... and we have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like them!
  2. We were awakened at 06:15 by the hens making a ruckus outside. Strolling around the base of the Eglu was the most magnificent red fox I've ever seen. Since the last rooster left the building and the weather's warmed up, we've gotten a bit lazy about closing the Star Trek door on the house at night, but the "no foxes allowed" feature of the run clearly works exactly as advertised. I slipped into a pair of jeans and a field jacket and tried to tiptoe up for a photo, but he saw me and loped off. Methinks I may now have to mark the territory by the middle wire fence ... someone please remind me to turn off the electric fence first!
  3. Haehnchen

    Greetings from chilly Germany!

    It might be our 30W heating pad discussed earlier on the thread, but it's also pretty clear that upping their meal ration a bit, continuing to give them kitchen vegetable s"Ooops, word censored!"s for some greens in their diet as well as keeping their water de-iced has helped. Oh, and another cold weather tip ... The pins that keep the fox-proof run gate closed can be a a bit of a pain to remove and reinsert with gloves, especially when it's cold and dark. I added some short doubled-up lanyards out of indestructable milspec parachute cord http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachute_cord and looped them onto the side of the cage, which makes removal and re-insertion a doddle (instead of falling off accidentally into the snow, they just hang there ready for use).
  4. Haehnchen

    Greetings from chilly Germany!

    Still -8c. Everything's freeze-dried. A few more observations: 1. The blanket we're using appears to be similar in construction to the Eglu OEM model, albeit shorter. If I'm feeling flush at some point, I'll spring for a shipment from Oxfordshire to Germany. 2. Found the frozen chicken manuer problem was an easier fix than previously thought. Whilst the chickens were out feeding, I popped open the lid and used a garden trowel to *carefully* pry loose the rooster bars and knock off any frozen manuer bits. Then I used one hand to hold up the clips and the other gloved hand to deliver a gentle knock on the *inside* of the trays against the back wall and they each came right loose. I then knocked the frozen chunks off into our designated garden trash bucket ... again gently to not crack the plastic. Worked a charm. 3. They're still cranking out their 1/hen egg quota and they're USDA Grade AA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_(food)#Grading_by_quality_and_size . Now off to skate on a nearby frozen lake!
  5. Haehnchen

    Greetings from chilly Germany!

    Four hens (two white, now equipped with home-made denim poultry saddles) and two brown, we believe all sex links, and one big-ass grizzly rooster who's starting to look like an American Thanksgiving turkey! See some of my earlier posts for the full story. http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=77512&hilit=jackson After a -14.8c evening yesterday, we only had two brown and one white egg today as opposed to the usual 2x2 quota. The heating pad appears to be doing eactly what we hoped it would do ... keep things just warm enough that it doesn't throw them off their rythm.
  6. Haehnchen

    Greetings from chilly Germany!

    It's been getting down as low as 16-18c at night. The heating pad seems to keep the temperature just a touch warmer in the Cube, but not so warm that there's any sort of shock to the system when they're let out. Our only issue now is that the manure drawers have frozen in, so we may find ourselves having to poop-scoop from the top until they free up. Perhaps we should have put some petroleum jelly on the bottoms. Oh well, live and learn.
  7. Just wanted to share some things we've found work to help the flock weather the weather: 1. We had a blanket we used to use for the beach that's polar-fleecy on one side and has space-blanket foil on the other side. We set that on top of the Eglu and weighted it down with a few pieces of firewood. There's frost on top in the morning, but it seems to retain heat well. 2. We bought a 30W heating pad we believe originally purposed for placing under a terrarium and hung it in the back of the Eglu with 2/3rds in the roosting area and 1/3 in the laying area. It's washable, keeps the ambient temperature above freezing and remains cool to the touch so it doesn't jeopardize the Eglu plastic nor the hay in the laying area. http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/561172/WAeRMEMATTE-THERMOLUX-30X50-CM-30-W . 3. We fought with a completely-frozen-over Glug for a few days, and then thought "we're idiots ... the chickens go inside for the night and can't drink anyway, so why not take the Glug indoors overnight and fill it up with hot water when we let them out in the morning?" Today it's been c. -5-7c all day, but the combination of the sunlight, hot water, injection-molded plastic and chicken drinking has kept it ice-free (albeit slushy) all day. They all seem content and continue to lay their daily quota. The long-range forecast says we might remain below freezing until 20 February. "Cor blimey!", I believe is the appropriate colloquial English phrase.
  8. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    We'd been getting c. three eggs per day, and the hens went on a two-week laying strike. We thought it might have been the weather, but then we switched exclusively to meal instead of a meal/grain mix and suddenly we're on four per day ... and big 'uns! I don't want to come across as a shill for Omlet (even thought this is their site), but we really can't imagine keeping chickens any other way. We keep a garden trash container next to the Eglu cube into which the offal goes during the week, and then I take it down to the thermal garden composters once a week where it rips down mixed with grass clippings and leaves. i thought I'd have to clean the whole Cube with a pressure washer every so often, but it's starting to look as though that might be only a once-a-year thing. Still slightly concerned that when it gets really cold and snowy we might have to put a blanket on top of the housing unit, so I'd be interested in any advice people might offer up.
  9. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    I'm somewhat contrite that I was so dismissive of the hen saddles. I thought they were decorative things in the same category as doggie coats for little city dogs, but one of our hens was clearly bottom of the pecking order and started to get injured from too much rooster attention. We made one ourselves from an old pair of kids jeans and she now seems to be in better shape. Here's a shot as we were sizing her up before her bespoke tailoring and here she is back in the Eglu Cube
  10. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    Well, here it is October first and we're about five months into our chicken odyssey, and all I can say is that it has exceeded all expectations. We're getting about 3-4 eggs per day, and the upkeep is a snap on our little farmette. Unexpected aspects: 1) The overall quality of the Eglu cube ... what a great piece of engineering; worth every penny. 2) The eggs are super-high quality. One can see that upon cracking them into the frying pan ... I didn't eat a lot of eggs before, but am eating more now and I don't think I'll ever go back to store-bought. 3) The chicken manure composts down nicely in our thermal composters mixed with some grass clippings. When the chickens were smaller, we had them parked down by the vegetable garden before we moved them closer to the house on the lower meadow. The spot over which the Eglu sat has absolutely exploded with grass in the exact shape of the wire run; there must be something to the magical powers of chicken offal. 4) We have no garden waste whatsoever now ... old spinach, carrot greens, slugged lettuce and pretty much everything else that used to go to the town dump or into the composter now goes into the chicken run. 5) I recently forgot to set an alarm before an important business trip, but our rooster did the trick! What a wonderfully pleasant experience this has been!
  11. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    Now I've seen everything http://www.louisescountrycloset.com/categories/Poultry-Items/Chicken-Saddles/ .
  12. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    The folks over at Backyardchickens.com may have successfully identified our flock http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=552546
  13. Haehnchen

    The Jackson Five

    We just had our first egg this morning!
  14. FYI, this fashion trend is creating a bit of a crisis for fly fishermen who tie their own flies. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/sports/when-fashion-meets-fishing-the-feathers-fly.html?_r=2&smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=SP-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-WFM-062911-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

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