Archive | August 2015

Why you’re getting soft shell eggs

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When I first thought of getting some chickens many years ago, I thought oh it’s easy, throw some food, give them some water and collect eggs. OH BOY! Was I naive!?

After 2 of my babies died, I realized there is a lot more to it to keep your flock healthy and happy. So many things could go wrong! I decided that I wanted to raise them as naturally as possible. Using no antibiotics, unless as a last resort, and trying all holistic methods. We also switched to Organic feed. Because if we are going to do it naturally then go all the way!

When my girls started laying, it was so exciting! I had one start, then a few days later I would have 2 laying and so on. But then one day, I found this in the nesting box. Two eggs laid by the same chicken (I know this because I only had 1 more to start laying at the time), but both eggs had soft shells. One would always be broke and the other intact, but squishy.

Let me start by saying I flipped out when this happened.

But then my quest for knowledge started and I was determined to find out why my chicken was laying these no shell eggs. My hubby looked it up right away the first time and said it can be common in new layers. I accepted that and moved on with my week.

3 weeks later I was still getting them here and there, so to the internet I went.

After much research and question asking on forums, I came to the conclusion that it was probably lack of calcium. She is a little low in the pecking order, so maybe the higher ups were keeping her from getting the oyster shell she needed. She just needed a little help.

I bought plain organic yogurt and took some of the egg shells from some eggs I used up and made an egg laying soup. My chickens actually hates oyster shells. I have never seen them touch the stuff. I still offer it but also offer monthly crushed egg shells.

Now the rules for giving chickens egg shells for calcium:

  1. Only egg shells that were from eggs from your flock. No store bought and no other farm’s fresh eggs. You don’t want any contamination.
  2. Dry your eggshells really good. During the summer I use to put them outside in the hot sun for some natural baking. During the winter or bad weather, just bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes and then cool.
  3. Make sure you crush or pulverize the shells. Easier for them to digest and they won’t recognize it as an egg or you might have trouble.

Use your food processor (warning: the egg shells will smell YUK!) and then add the amount of yogurt you think would feed your flock. I use one of the small cups or 1/2 of a bigger container.

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Now I did say that Nutmeg was low on the pecking order so I put down one dish on one side of the run for the higher ups. And because Nutmeg is a little spoiled, she knows to follow me because I will let her eat out of the bag of worms or container of food where no one can bother her. I knew she would get her fair share from the second bowl on the other side before the others discovered it.

I have to say I really think it worked. We have had no problems since. And I do this about once a month just to make sure everyone is getting their calcium fix.

 

This post was part of the blog hop on Oak Hill HomesteadSimple Life MomTimber Creek Farmer and The Chicken Chick.

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The day the system let us down.

New year 2015

One reason I have been MIA this summer is because of my special needs daughter. I don’t know if it is her hormones changing or just the medicine becoming ineffective because of her being on it for so long, but it has been a summer from hell. She has becoming increasingly agitated and defiant. Usually I can reach her with some humor and talking to her. But even that is not working.

Our breaking point came one Sunday. It all started by me asking her to do her chores and from there the whole day went to hell in a hand basket. By about 1-2pm in the afternoon, we were calling the cops out because she ran away after getting violent with me. Now here is where the system failed.

The cop came out and talked her down. But said he would rather us take her to the mental health center because it frees him up for other emergencies. I honestly understand this, but it kinda just let everything else balloon out of control.

We went through all this question and answer sessions and when it was time to talk to administration the lady said nope doesn’t qualify. Okay but when I then tried to explain that she had kicked me twice and body slammed me, I was made to feel like it was my own fault. Now let give a little back story. Two weeks earlier she ran away and the cops came out, they said I should try to restrain and bring her back to the house next time before calling them out. Now this is what I did. I restrained her from running out of the house knowing she was going to run away. When I approached her, she connected twice in my chest and when I did get a hold of her from behind, she threw her weight and me backwards twice. And this lady called it defending herself.

WAIT! IT GETS BETTER!
So I bring up her running away. Oh no, it’s not running away because she went to a neighbor’s house every time. Nevermind if it was a neighbor we knew or not. Nevermind that she probably would not have come home on her own. Nevermind that these neighbors were scared and uncomfortable. She had a destination in mind and because she went there, it is not running away.

She then asked my daughter about therapy. She refused to go. She then asked if she would like to get help at home or away from the family. My daughter says away. She says she is not going to change being at home and refuses to get help unless she is taken somewhere. So this lady recommends a residential place and says SO & SO will be in to help with paperwork.

SO&SO comes in and says no that place won’t take her because she has never been Baker Acted. Well what do you think we are trying to do!!!! Even says she doesn’t qualify for in home therapy just a case manager.

At this point, I am feeling defeated and worn out. When we walked out of the facility after accomplishing nothing, my daughter got mad because she had to go home. I cried the whole way home. I really thought today was the day she gets the help she needs.

Her psychiatrist is good for nothing. He doesn’t know her from Joe down the road. Every time we go in it’s like he is seeing us for the first time. I have to repeat everything. He has also given up hope. He told us this is it. This is your life.

She is on the spectrum, but she is high functioning. She just has a mental age of 10 or under. She has signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She doesn’t understand appropriate relationships. When she has a friend, she becomes completely obsessed with them and it consumes her life.

So let me recap, had the cop taken my daughter instead of us, she would have been admitted. Even for a couple of hours, it would have been on her record and maybe opened up more resources. But instead, that day taught my daughter that everything I have said to her is a lie.

I tell her you can’t go around hitting people that’s called assault and you go to jail for that. Nope! Wrong! She learned that day that she can hit, kick and slam her Mom down and nothing will happen.

I tell her not to runaway because bad things can happen. Nope! Wrong Again! Because she learned as long as she is going to a certain destination it is not considered running away.

I tell her to listen to her parents. Why? No one else does!

So thank you system! You may think my daughter is a lost cause and that she doesn’t understand what you taught her that day. But I guarantee you she remembers. And it will make my life and hers even more difficult! And next time might not be just a little hitting or kicking. It might be worse. But you just don’t get it. You don’t have any special needs children yourself. You just have a medical degree that says you know it all. But you don’t! And until you live our lives on a daily basis, you will never get it.

You failed my family that day. And who knows how many others you have fail. But the fact of the matter is, I am trying to prevent another theater shooting or another Sandy Hook. I think it’s time that you wake up and take parents seriously. Never question a parents intuition!

This all happened 2 weeks ago. And so far things have been smooth sailing. But my daughter is almost 16. She has goals and dreams. And right now those are not a possibility. We have finally found an autism therapy school and are in the process of trying to get her in there. I want to feel hopeful, but also have been so disappointed in the past that I don’t want to get my hopes up.