Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicken Update

I think I posted that chicken number one, Ginny, died a few weeks ago. Chicken number two, Charlotte, is still hanging on. She has been an invalid for two weeks now. For about a week all she could do was lie on her left side with her wing sticking out from under her body. She still has the ability to move her legs, so when she scrambled around the ground, she was tearing her shoulder area with her claws. I tried rigging up a sling for her to sit in, but I didn't get the hole in the back placed properly and she was pooping on herself. I then tried using the sling to wrap her up, but it got too hot and I thought she was simply too uncomfortable. My latest idea was to use strips of cloth to fashion little wraps for her feet. I wrapped the cloth around each foot and secured it with a piece of string to keep her claws from scratching her wing. This has seemed to work and her shoulder is healing nicely.

Saturday, however, Jeremy and I were standing outside watching her sleep in the grass. (I had brought her outside for a change of scenery and a chance at bug catching.) He mentioned that she didn't look too well and I told him I was debating which method of putting her down would be the most humane. I took her back into her stall and set her near her food and water and left. A few hours later when I peeked in at her, she was resting on her stomach with her feet underneath her, just like a normal chicken! She's been that way ever since. I don't know what happened. I had prayed just that morning that God would send me a clear sign about whether to put her down or keep nursing her. I'm hoping this was the answer to my prayer and not just a coincidence.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zucchini Recipes

I knew I was going to be swimming in zucchini and yellow squash, but I guess I really didn't realize just how much of it I was going to have. I've been harvesting roughly two large squash per day for the past month. Since my family is not particularly fond of squash plain or in casseroles I had to come up with some creative ways to use it. Luckily I found a book that's filled with recipes for just about every vegetable under the sun. It's called From Asparagus to Zucchini and it's put out by the Madison Area CSA Coalition. Both of these recipes were taken from this book and have been a huge hit at my house. The chocolate cake is simply scrumptious, even without icing, and it's hard to believe the apple cobbler doesn't have apples in it.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake by Scotch Hill Farm
3/4 cup oil (I did half applesauce)
1 1/4 cup sugar (half white and half honey granules)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 T cocoa
1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t each cinnamon and cloves
2 1/2 cups flour (half all-purpose and half freshly ground hard white)
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Mix all ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes. You can also make these into muffins. I think they took about 25 minutes.

Mock Apple Cobbler by Inn Serendipity
Filling Ingredients:
3 pounds peeled, seeded, and chopped zucchini (about 8 cups)
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

Crust Ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 t cinnamon

Combine zucchini and lemon juice in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; simmer 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 9-by-13-inch pan. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half the remaining crust mixture into pan. Spread zucchini mixture over it, then crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake until golden and bubbly, 35-40 minutes.
*I misread the directions and put 1/2 the crust mixture in with the zucchini and spread the other half in the bottom of the pan, not reserving any for the top. I thought it tasted great and my husband actually likes a thicker crust. Try it both ways and see which one you prefer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Chickens Now

Well, now we have two chickens that are sick. The first one can't move at all and lies in the stall all day. She's still eating, but I'm not sure if she's drinking. I've been going in several times per day with a medicine syringe and giving her water. I've also been giving her watermelon to increase her liquid intake.

I was able to get the second girl two days ago and she's steadily getting worse. She's still able to move and can walk around her stall, but she's pretty unsteady on her feet and sits sometimes with her feet out in front of her. She's eating and drinking and has gobbled up the watermelon I've been feeding her.

I found out that we have a research facility about an hour away so I'm going to call them in the morning to see if I can bring one or both girls in to find out what they have. I've been keeping a close eye on the other girls and so far have not noticed any of them walking funny.

I do have good news on the chickens, though. Up until now they've refused to use their roosting bars in the coop at night. I've seen them on the roost at various times during the day, but never at night. They preferred to huddle on the floor in one big mass. They originally all crammed into one or two nesting boxes, but I solved that by covering the boxes up. I just removed the cover two days ago, put a cement block under the roost to raise it up and give them one more roost, and put overturned flower pots in their normal spot. When I went out to put them to bed last night I noticed that four of them were roosting! This morning the majority of them were up on the roosts when I opened their pop door. Yay! Hopefully they've figured it out.

Now if I can just keep them from getting sick.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Horse, Hopefully!

We went to look at our fifth horse yesterday and were quite pleased. We had to drive two hours each way to see him, but it was worth it. Each of the other horses we've looked at have had something that needed to be worked on, but this one is ready to go and doesn't need any work. He has beautiful ground manners, has done the walk/trot/canter, and jumps up to three feet. Samantha will need to learn how to use more leg and less arm on him, but that's so minor it's barely worth mentioning.

Albert, or Alarming Leader, is 18 years old, an off the track thoroughbred, 16.1hh, and is greyish white. He's currently being used for fox hunting and isn't on any sort of supplements or injections. He has shown three times under his current owner and she said he placed at all of them. Our trainer will call her tonight and let her know we're interested and would like to bring him here for a trial period. We've already set up the vet appointment for next Friday to have him checked out, with x-rays as needed. We'd like to keep the price negotiable based on the vets findings, but we'll see what the owner says to that.

Our trainer has also told us we can take one of her horses to act as a companion to this one until we either get another one or get our first boarder. She has one that can't be ridden until he possibly heals from an injury. He's supposed to be pastured and lunged once a year until he heals, if ever. He's perfectly fine, as long as he's not ridden. She agreed to pay for all his vet and farrier bills and we'll let him help mow our pastures. It's a win-win in my opinion. She needs the space he's taking up, and I need another horse.

I'll post pictures of Albert when he arrives next week.

No Improvement

Ginny is still in isolation in a horse stall, but she's holding steady. She's eating and drinking and has bright eyes, so I'm hoping for a full recovery. She does move around a little bit, scooting herself a few feet here and there. I just move her food and water to wherever she moves to for easier access. I bought her some vitamin B6 and sprinkled it in her food, so we'll see how that works. I also gave her a fresh slice of watermelon since she gobbled the first one down pretty quickly.

Good news, though. None of the rest of the chickens seem to have the same thing, so it must be an injury and not a disease.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sick Chicken

I have my first sick chicken. I noticed she wasn't herself last night when I went to lock them up. She was lying under the waterer and wouldn't really move. I picked her up and set her down and she just kind of stumbled and laid down again. I did it again and the same thing happened. When I set the food inside, though, she eagerly got up and started eating. I thought all was well.

When I went out this morning to let the girls out, she was again lying on the floor and one of the other girls started pecking at her. I picked her up and cradled her for a minute and then tried to set her down inside, but she got out of my arms and scooted under the coop. One of the Barred Rock girls promptly started pecking at her. I grabbed her up and carried her to a stall in the barn.

I secured the doorway so she can't scoot out and gave her water, food and a watermelon rind. After doing some research the only thing I could come up with is that she needs rest and some B6 vitamins. Most people said that their chickens recovered after a couple of days/weeks/months and went on to rejoin the flock. She is able and eager to eat, so that's a good sign. I'm praying she doesn't die and now, of course, will have to name her. She needs a name while she's in quarantine. I'm thinking maybe Ginny, after a character on Harry Potter. Ginny has red hair and this girl is a Rhode Island Red.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Update on horse situation

After much prayer and discussion, we decided to send Frosty back to the rescue. We just didn't feel comfortable keeping him as we weren't sure if he would be difficult to handle on the ground. I was originally going to just do ground work with him and do halter, showmanship and ground driving, but his neck is so stiff! He has either never been trained, or he's got some serious bad habits that he's learned over the years. We also decided that we really need something that's rideable. With our limited pasture, it's not feasible to keep a horse that pretty much unusable. I've talked with several people and the consensus seems to be that we won't be able to have more than 4-5 horses on our current property.

So, Frosty went back on Wednesday, but on Tuesday we looked at a wonderful horse right up the road from us. This one is a 12-year-old Appaloosa mare named Natalie. She stands between 15 and 16 hands and is very stocky. She's white like Frosty, but instead of black spots on her undercoat like him, she's got black freckles on her muzzle. She's a BTDT (been there, done that) horse with a quiet disposition. She's been jumped before and would also be good for a beginner. She's in our price range and the trainer said she's almost positive the owners wouldn't mind letting us have her on trial here on our property. She's currently fully pastured and that's the only problem I see with her, barring a vet-check. I plan to bring her in and stall her at night and she might be our only horse for a bit. I'm not sure how she'll respond to either the stall or being by herself. The trainer did mention (and I'm not sure if she was serious) that she has a lame horse that she'd lend us if we needed a pasture buddy.

So, we'll see. We're not rushing things this time. Hopefully this time we'll make a fully informed decision and will get a keeper horse.