UCONN Agriculture campus

UCONN Poultry Campus

new girls

new girls

self-appointed welcome committee - Lizzie

Betty, Wilma & Big Allie

Emerson & Oliver

an overworked Jackson

This weekend has been all about chickens.  Yesterday we drove to Connecticut to pick up the new girls.  It was overcast and rainy.  The poor girls made it through the 2 1/2 hour drive back to their new home.  Although they hadn't all been coop mates at UCONN, during their drive home they were in survival mode and now have an inseparable bond.

We kept the new girls separated from the old girls all of Saturday.  They all stared at each other through the fence and got to know each other.  The new girls discovered that there's an entire world they didn't have any idea existed.  All their lives, thus far, has been spent inside a building.  They could see the outside but have never been in it.  They have no idea about scratching for food, roosting to sleep or treats from the nice woman who cleans up after them in the morning.  Everything seems to come as a surprise.

Sunday morning Little Lizzie appointed herself the welcoming committee.  She's the only member on the committee.  The remainder of the girls just don't care at all about the newbies much at all.  Lizzie takes this new role very VERY seriously.  She tried marching them around but they didn't want to follow.  She tried showing them to scratch for goodies and they had zero interest.  Frustrated, she tried getting them to follow her onto the outdoor roost and they stayed in their little corner, huddled in fear.

Lizzie finally decided she'd take care of her own morning routine and then check in on them.  I have no idea what she's saying to them, but she talks up a storm.  They venture around, slowly and in their group of 6, little by little.  It's a hot day so it's not enticing to work up a sweat digging in the grass or dirt.  Hopefully after a few days they can begin to enjoy their new home.  By fall we should be able to let them out of the coop and trust that they'll come back {or I can just send Lizzie after them}.  They are estimated to be about 4 months old so they should begin laying eggs the beginning of September.  Since they're bantams, they will remain the size of Lizzie, Claire and Emma.  We thought this would help out Lizzie's self esteem.

All the coop girls are hot.  They spend part of their days either dust bathing for heat relief, or spreading their wings in front of their box fan.  They pant to cool themselves and drink tons of water.  I began supplementing their water with electrolytes for the summer.  I also sprinkle their food with a bit of nutritional yeast for added nutrients.

I made the first Chocolate Zucchini Cake of the year and it was delicious!  I think I got carried away planting summer squash so I may have to get creative in using it up.  I'm getting quite a bit of crispy and sweet Sugar Snap Peas.  The asparagus supply may have finally come to an end.  My first red tomatoes of the season should be ready by Tuesday.  Cauliflower is ready as is broccoli and kale.  We stopped at Cabela's on our way to UCONN and I bought a dehydrator so I won't have to dehydrate in the oven anymore.  I'll be making kale chips and dehydrated strawberries & blueberries this week.  I'm hoping to try my hand at fruit leather as well.

We also bought an outdoor burner to hook up to a propane tank so I can boil the canning water outside on hot days.  It is expected to be in the 90's and humid this week, so this should work out great for canning blueberry jam, sauce, etc.  Jay came up with this plan after last year's tomato canning-palooza.  I canned tomato products for 1 full weekend, in upper 80/low 90 degree weather, and the house was insanely hot.   This year's tomato canning-palooza should go much smoother.  This year I have a food mill {thanks Mom} AND an outdoor burner.

I'm headed out to check in on the coop girls and to make sure the welcoming committee isn't too frustrated.  I'm also going to pick more basil to make pesto tonight to add to tomato tarts {so easy and so good - a square of puff pastry, a dollop of pesto, a slice of fresh tomato and a sprinkle of parmesan}.  I purchased a couple of tomatoes at the farmers market {because I'm impatient} and can't wait to use them!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!


"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Poor Lizzie, she can't catch a break...first the mean girls, now these ones ignore her. Hopefully she will get her wish and can become their teacher of all things great and wonderful, like roosting and scratching for bugs! By the looks of it Stacy, you will have your hands full very soon with all the canning, etc. The garden looks great!

daisy g said...

Those are some blessed chickens to be at your homestead. How did you decide to get them from the University?

Can't wait to hear about your canning adventures this year!
Enjoy your week!

p.s. The boys look absolutely priceless gazing through the fence.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Yes Cathy, you are correct, my hands will be very full with canning. :)

Daisy - when we first wanted to purchase chickens we wanted pullets rather than chicks but didn't want to ship them.....seemed so inhumane. When trying to find a reputable source online we discovered that colleges who have poultry programs often sell their chickens. UCONN was the only one selling them during that particular month and we've just kept in contact with them. We've been very happy with their birds and love that they have a loving home to be adopted into. :)

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Awww the new girls are so cute! Sounds like you rescued them from their past lives - good for you! They will get to be real chickens now :) I love how Lizzie is the head of the welcoming committee - too cute!

And in your reply above to Daisy, I have to agree about shipping chicks - we ordered some last summer and they got lost in the mail. When we got the package a day late, most of them were dead and over the course of the day, the remaining few slowly passed away. It was one of the most horrible experiences ever. So we will never get chicks shipped again.

born imaginative. said...

I love watching the bees on flowers.

I got hungry when I looked at your garden's bounty.

And your weekend seems picture perfect!

Unknown said...

Just wanted to stop by and say hello. Love the pics of the animals. Hope you are having a good summer.