I was a little bit confused when I found a giant egg in the coop.

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This egg could only have been laid by Juliette or Annie, as the others were accounted for. Betty is currently in the garage while I look after a small sore spot on her lower leg that looks like something she might have caught from Josephine. They were in a pen together for a little bit before I picked up Josephine’s foot problem. Josephine is now gone and I don’t think her foot trouble was really bumblefoot after all, but rather some other bacterial infection, as it was really concentrated on the top of her feet, with only tiny, beginning-type spots of infection on the bottom of one foot, and her feet just weren’t healing well enough. I think it was either in her bloodstream or in her bone or tissues. I’m hoping it wasn’t some form of arthritis, as that has serious implications for her genetic counterparts. Anyway, I’m keeping an eye on Betty’s small sore spot, treating it and keeping her away from the others for now.

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I like Betty. Hopefully her lower leg spot will be an easy fix.

Anyway, that left four hens, Annie, Juliette, Paris and Rory in the main coop. Paris and Rory’s eggs are easy to spot because they’re brown. Juliette’s are pale, lightly speckled with white and fairly rounded. Then along comes Annie, who’s eggs look similar to Juliette’s. I thought the giant egg was Juliette’s until the smaller one appeared a little later. The next day it was four from four again, with a smaller egg definitely from Annie that looks most similar in colour to the GIANT egg. Annie must have laid the giant egg. What kind of hen lays a giant egg for her first egg ever?! Either she was trying to hold off laying or it wasn’t her first egg, and of course that makes me nervous… Annie is a very big hen, currently 3.2kg, the biggest hen I’ve had. So I’m hoping it’s the first option. She has been laying on the floor. The third day we got four eggs from these four again, then nothing from Annie yesterday. And I found Juliette’s egg out in the run yesterday. Hmm. Of course, I’d just done the chickens’ regular worming, so we can’t eat the eggs for 10 days…

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Top row: Thursday’s eggs. Bottom row: Friday’s eggs.
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Front: Juliette’s eggs. Back: Annie’s eggs.
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Can you notice the subtle shell differences? Left: Juliette’s eggs. Right: Annie’s eggs.
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What have you been up to, Annie?

I’ve moved the hens’ nestboxes around so it’s easier to collect eggs and see if hens are in there without going in. I’ve added some pieces of wood so they can access the higher nestboxes. They have all been wanting to lay in the bottom nestbox, so I was pleased to see that Paris laid in the second one the other day. I’m still figuring out what the best layout is and I need to cut a hole in the top nestbox as well. Annie’s eggs started to appear the day I did this.

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In other animal news, the neighbours’ little bull started reaching his head through the fence and munching very forcefully on my row of native Carex dissita sedges. This was quite infuriating, not just because he was eating my plants, but because he was squashing and bending the wire netting that I put on the fence. I cut some wire netting into thirds and attached it to the top section of paddock fence where he was squishing his head through and fixed up the rest of the netting. Hopefully this will stop him. He’s done the same with some of the fence along the Vege Garden to reach weeds (it’s been wet, I haven’t dealt with them…) so I’ll have to fix that up too.

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The Plum Tree Garden isn’t so nicely edged at the back now thanks to Mr Bull.
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My once graceful sweep of Carex dissita sedges has been savaged. I have responded with a full covering of wire netting. It’s bad enough having your own animals or children eat your plants…
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Just because I haven’t gotten around to weeding that part of the Vege Garden path is no reason to wreck my fencing.

The Small Sugar pumpkins I harvested do not appear to have a very long storage life, so I am trying to use them up. I have been roasting and pureeing them, then freezing them in 1 cup lots by overfilling texas muffin tins. Once they’re frozen I sit the tin on the bench for 5-10 minutes to loosen up, then push out the pumpkin portions and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer for use in the pumpkin bread recipe we like.

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I chopped up the last of the capsicums, which gave me 1.55kg to store in the freezer. This season I’ve put a total of 6.72kg of chopped capsicums into the freezer (weighed after chopping). That’s a lot of chopping. I didn’t weight the ones we used fresh. I’m quite ready for a big break from chopping. I also whizzed up some frozen kale leaves and put the resulting kale flakes into small bags in the freezer.

With the trampoline gone, it was time we cracked into our old friend, the Pruning Mountain. The Husband cut into some of it with the chainsaw, chopping the branches into smaller pieces. Then I scooped up the debris, some of which has been decomposing for a while (a really long while), and took it away by the wheelbarrow load. We have made mulch. Not in a very good manner, but we have made something useful out of this pile nonetheless, which is far better than taking it to the dump. I have decided that we need to get a mulcher/chipper. We previously put that idea aside because the good ones that can chop up decent-sized branches are rather expensive. However, we really only need one for cutting up smaller branches, as anything bigger can be chainsawed, sawn or chopped into firewood. We will always have piles of pruning that need to be dealt with and we always need mulch for the garden and the Vege Garden paths, so we need to figure out a more efficient way of turning prunings into something useful. We’ve done about a third of the Pruning Mountain and the first lot of mulch has gone onto the bit of garden beside the front carport to help stop weeds until we can undertake our parking area plans there.

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We have attacked the Pruning Mountain. Ha!
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The Pruning Mountain doesn’t look so big from further away, but you can see we’ve dealt with a fair bit already.

The walnut tree started dropping its leaves around the drive by the masses, so we had a leaf sweeping session and tipped the leaves into the chicken pen to help keep the chickens’ feet away from the mud. They’ve been having a great time scratching around in the leaves too.

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And, finally, here are some photos of the chicks. They are three weeks old now and still trucking along.

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I wonder if Frodo’s wishing she could run off with the other hens. She’s had a tough motherhood this time around.
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Frodo is raising good little foragers and they will now eat out of The Little Fulla’s hand.
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