Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are you there, God? Our chickens have hit puberty.

The trip to Guatemala was family-packed and wildly fattening and altogether lovely and now it is over. There was no internet access at Lake Atitlan, which is where my mother (in the blue skirt) celebrated her birthday with two cousins who have birthdays the same week. It's blurry, but I love that picture. Like I said, and as you can see, Guatemala is my mother's laughing place. 

We ate many wonderful things over the last five or six days, including chancletas (an ambrosial pudding of chayote, butter, and sugar served in the hollowed-out rind of the squash), tamales, pork rinds, candied figs, gnocchi at Tamarindos, nachos at Casa Palopo, platanos stewed in honey, and mountains of refried black beans. Yum. I had so much to say -- I walked around composing blog posts in my head -- but feel I missed the opportunity to say it, lacking both a camera and internet access. Now it seems old. I'll remember things piecemeal, but meanwhile, we came home yesterday afternoon to bad news and good news.

Good news first.

We got our first egg. Whichever bird supplied this tiny, perfect item failed to make the deposit in one of the expertly home-carpentered nesting boxes, but chose instead a pile of unsanitary sawdust and. . . well, you know.  The egg is about an inch-and-a-half long and cocoa brown. Beautiful. Needs washing. Seems all wrong that I don't have a camera to document this moment. 

Also, ugh, we woke up this morning to music very familiar from our stay at Lake Atitlan. A rooster. Our rooster. The big, brutish, mottled Ameraucana. I should have known that crazy bully was a boy. I don't mind at all -- I like the sound he makes -- but our neighbors probably won't be too psyched. It's also (therefore) illegal.

Rooster must be dispatched. Unfortunately, the kids are at home and they are not eager to experience the "circle of life" with these particular chickens. Fate of rooster TBD asap.

6 comments:

  1. I'm writing in from my mother's happy place -- Hawaii. My folks live there now though. Regarding the rooster, have you read Sunset Magazine's chicken blog? One of their chicks turned out to be a rooster, which caused a heated debate among readers and staffers regarding what to do with "Nugget." Here's a summary, although I would recommend reading the post by post if you have the time.

    http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/2009/08/we-didnt-kill-our-rooster-but-these-folks-did-good-for-them.html

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  2. Tipsy,

    You need to put a plastic (or glass or real) egg in the place where you want the hens to ley (e.g., in the nest box). Their instinct is to lay in one place until they get enough to brood. So you need to leave the first egg (or its facsimile) in the nest.

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  3. Tipsy,

    You need to put a plastic (or glass or real) egg in the place where you want the hens to ley (e.g., in the nest box). Their instinct is to lay in one place until they get enough to brood. So you need to leave the first egg (or its facsimile) in the nest.

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  4. thank you for the information! I had no idea about leaving an egg in place. Will do so.

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  5. First egg! As they get the kinks worked out, you may find eggs with double yolks, or no shells--it's crazy.

    And that's why they call it a nest egg--to encourage other eggs being put there.

    Also, you don't need to wash the eggs in the case of minor streaking or dust or dirt--they have a natural protective coating that keeps out contamination. But I'm guessing that in this case there is a substantial deposit, so yeah. Wash it.

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  6. And that last comment was from me, not my husband. Welcome back!

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