Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bruce is Next

WARNING: Not for the timid of heart

Lindsay and I made a visit to our new friend Kevin. Kevin is going to show us how to process a rooster that may or may not be waking people up at 5am. So this is Kevin's rooster. It was actually quite beautiful before we chopped its head off. I guess I should have taken a picture of that. Oops

This is right after the deed was done. He layed the rooster out and kept petting it so it would stretch his neck out. Then chop. It was quick and easy. Then he held the chicken down until it stopped moving.

Next we scalded the rooster to loosen up the feathers. We only had it in the water for about 20 or 30 seconds.

The scalding is actually very affective. The feathers pull right out.

The pin feathers are a bit hard to pull out so it's best to process in the spring.

Here is the clean bird.

The next step is to remove the gizzard. The gizzard is right below the neck.

You can cut it completely loose from the bird and pull it out.

Next you cut out "the other end" just cut a circle around the anus and cut the digestive tract free of the body.

Then pull.

Be careful not to break the appendix. If you do make sure to wash out as quickly as possible.

Once you have all of the guts clear of the carcass then. Take the feet of next.
To take the feet off break the knee joint and cut through the cartilage

The finished product. You just want to make sure you take it inside and wash it out so no blood sits in the carcass. We are going to smoke this one for dinner on Sunday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A day with Filene

Ok Spring is finally coming and it is time to start anew and post some of my recent adventures. Many of you may remember that my wife had a "run in" with a mean cow about this time last year. The cows name is Filene. She caught Lindsay off guard and sent her flying. Lindsay was on bed rest for about a week but luckily didn't break anything. Ok so the reason she got hurt was because Filene doesn't let her new calves latch on and nurse the first week after birth because she is engorged. So we were in the process of putting her into the squeeze shoot to milk her when she turned on Lindsay. Filene just had another calf. Don't worry Lindsay kept at least 3 fences between her and Filene. First we got last years calfs into the squeeze shoot so we could measure them.

This is Filenes calf from last year. I think Bonnie named her Storm or Rain or something. She was born during a storm or...well rain.

I am rereading a book written by Temple Grandin called Animals in Translation. It's a great book for anyone with an interest in animals or autism. Temple is autistic but she has used animals to help her understand and overcome her autism. One of the things she talks about in her book are squeeze shoots. Cattle are "fear driven" animals. They obviously get a little worked up (especially Filene) when you move them around and do things they are not used to. The thing that Temple noticed is that the cows calm down when the squeeze shoot is closed on them. The pressure relaxes them. In fact she learned that a similar pressure could help her when she had panic attacked. She actually built herself a squeeze shoot her size that she could use when she was stressed out. If you aren't going to read the book you should at least see the HBO movie Temple Grandin. She has designed close to 75% of the slaughter houses in America. She designs them so that the animal has less stress and easily walks through the facility. Anyway the picture above is a very calm calf in the squeeze shoot.
Here is little Storm running off to play after her measure and retag.

I was goofing off a bit in between cows.

Ok so there was a bit too much excitement going on when we moved Filene into the squeeze shoot for Lindsay to catch any pictures. She was keeping her distant. In this picture you can see Filene is giving Lindsay the "I am gonna come getcha" look. She really is mean. Bonnie is milking her. Abel (pronounced Avel) is holding the hoove back so Bonnie can keep her fingers. I am just standin there lookin good as always.

Don't worry I got my chance to milk her. I actually was thinking I would enjoy having a milk cow. It's a good thing I don't have enough room for one or I would be getting one.

You can see the calf in the background. Bonnie is trying to feed it some of the milk. Filene is still staring at Lindsay.

Calves look small but they really are amazingly strong. Even when they haven't had anything to eat since birth.

Here is one of his first gulps of milk.

Calf fur is so soft.

He kept falling asleep as we would feed him. So I would have to shake him a bit and he would jolt awake and start eating again.

He is very cute.

I got to try next. You can see the quad in the background. We had to chase Filene in with that and the tractor. At one point she started to charge me right as the engine died. Luckily she didn't hit me before I could start it up and move.

Any ideas for a name for him? I know I know you shouldn't name cattle. Bonnie does, so it might as well be something good.
Everyone made it out alive today. It was a lot of work but it was also very fun and rewarding to help out the baby calf. There definetly is something about saving something defenseless that makes us feel important.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rainy Saturday

It rained all day today so Buddy got a little bit of cabin fever. He plopped his big butt in Lindsay's chair and stared at us.

Then he stared at the door.
Lindsay felt bad for him and gave him a rub with a vibrating massager.
He liked it.

He really liked it.

Then he went back to his chair for another rest.

He has such a hard life.

Oh, and that is not a small chair, just a big dog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Milkshake and The Ladies

About six months ago a little girl from church asked Lindsay if she wanted her bunny. In our lifelong quest to save anything helpless and cute we gladly added another member to our mini farm. Cici, the little girl that had given the bunny up for adoption, had named the bunny Milkshake. We thought about changing the name but decided bunnies probably don't care what we call them and Butch didn't quite fit. Milkshake she remains.

Milkshake remained in a cage for several months with close to daily excursions to the outside world. She always had a hard time going back into her cage and would be shaking the cage door the next morning to get out. She doesn't really like to be held which is why I think we were gifted the bunny. One day I decided to seal off all under-fence retreats and let her loose in the backyard. I would put her back in her cage just before I went to bed and let her out when I woke up. One night I forgot. I woke up in a panic and ran out with images of Milkshake guts flying through my head. Luckily, she survived. In fact she has been surviving cage free since then. She sleeps under the barn and she has made several attempt to burrow to her neighbor in the next yard. Luckily she has yet to meet the pit bull next door.

Today while I worked on the "SuperCoop". I decided to let the Ladies out for a recess from the brooder. No sooner then I set them down in the grass did Milkshake come out to checkout her new "roomies". They are all very interested in
each other.

They all have one thing in common....

They all love chicken feed.

Then Milkshake needed a rest.

Buddy is very excited about the whole thing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Girls

For the passed 3 weeks I have been waiting for the newest additions to our home. I got the eggs from a friend that is a local egg farmer. This is my first experience with eggs so there was a lot of guessing and a lot of help from my friend June at the 4-H office.

Tuesday Morning I went to check on the eggs and I accidentally bumped the incubator. All of the eggs started rocking but one of them didn't stop. I leaned in closer for a look and the egg chirped at me. I had no idea that the chicks can chirp from inside the egg. Unfortunately the chick decided to wait until I went to work to peck it's way out of the shell. It started with a very small hole then pecked its way around until the top of the egg popped off like a hat.

When the "Bruce" finally made it out she (we are hoping it's a she) took about 3 hours to learn how to walk which is pretty amazing because she can't go 10 minutes without falling asleep wherever she is.

Bruce would then go around and try to "rally the troops". She bumped into, sat on, nuzzled, pecked and ran away from all of the other eggs in the incubator. I knew this breed (Aracauna) has a low hatch rate but I was hoping for some friends for Bruce. In the mean time we had to look for a temporary friend.

So Lindsay found the ball of yarn and put it in the brooder with Bruce. They didn't quite get along at first but a long lasting relationship has now formed.

We had the sad realization this morning that Bruce was going to be an only child. None of the other eggs hatched so we went to Echo Valley Farm Supply and got her a couple roommates.

There was a little bit of a clique at the beginning.

The girls getting acquainted

Buddy is already a fan.