My Ducks made me sick

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

 

All my life I have been a lover of ducks. When we moved out to this property, Grandpa use to say we can get some chickens. And I always said, no I want ducks. I just love them so much! Well as everyone knows I got ducks last year and ultimately ended up with 2 females and a male. My females are laying all these gorgeous eggs and I have been baking up a storm with them. Then the first incident happen.

I was making brownies and of course tasted the batter. Within a few minutes, my throat got itchy and swelled and my lips were tingling. But I thought it had to be the new spices I used on my pork chops. I have used duck eggs several times before.

Then I made a batch of cookies with Dakota. As soon as I ate one, I had the worse pain in my stomach. A few days later, ate another one and the pain was back but this time I threw up once.

Next, I made some cookies for the kids and I didn’t even eat one! I just licked a small amount of batter off of my finger and within an hour, pain. I couldn’t even cook dinner that night.

Well you think by now I would have learned my lesson. But I made brownies Monday night and I was up all night throwing up and the pain…..oh my god, unbearable! I almost told my hubby to take me to the ER. I mean I birthed 2 babies and 1 with no epidural and that didn’t even come close to the pain I was experiencing. The crazy part is I was at the doctors that morning. And we both thought it was my anxiety flaring up. But I thought that was strange because it would hit when I was at home watching TV and relaxing. What do I have to feel anxious about?

So this last time, I put 2 and 2 together. I know I should have taken notice with the first incident. That was bad enough. And it explained why all the medicines I took to help stomach symptoms weren’t doing a bit of good. I needed to treat an allergic reaction. But I had no idea that is what it was.

The next day after all these events, I would feel wiped out and still had soreness in my stomach. I would take the day to rest and that would throw the rest of the week off. Let’s just say I am not happy about spending my holiday season on the couch. I feel like I missed out on so much activities with my kids. But now that I know, I will take better caution.

Now I have 3 ducks and at least a dozen eggs a week that I can’t use. So I am selling them. NOT my ducks, the eggs. I made that clear to my hubby and he said he wouldn’t have asked me too. I have a lady that buys them for her dog because he is allergic to chicken eggs. It will be a way to pay for my feed.

I just hate to think if I had gotten brave and tried to eat one scrambled. I may not be around to write this to you.

 

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Holiday hatchlings

Well I did it again. I couldn’t resist watching little baby chicks hatching. So I got out my incubator and put some eggs in to see what would happen. At first, I put in some of my Cayuga eggs, but they weren’t fertile.

And then I put a dozen chicken eggs in there, only 1 was a dud. So I waited another 2 weeks and then I got this result.

Growing a large family

 

9 out of 11 eggs hatched. They hatched the middle of November.

I’m not trying to brag but the coloring of my chicks are beautiful. Since I don’t specialize in one breed of chicken, mine are considered mixed. But let me tell you. They are pretty!

Chicks~Growing a large family

 

It was also a good lesson in genetics. We keep playing Whose your Daddy as their feathers come in. I was a little disappointed in the fact that I only got 1 turken out of the bunch. But that’s okay because we have another hatching coming up on New Years Day.

I just put 31 eggs in the incubator. I was going to try some of Lucky’s eggs but she was hiding them from me and I found them too late. So I put 15 of my own, 15 I bought from a friend and 1 from the neighbor.

 

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Sugar Cookies

On Sunday, I got a rare and special treat. It was just me and Dakota. This never happens. My two youngest girls were at a sleepover and my oldest daughter went to work with Daddy that day. So it was just me and my boy. We went to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then came home to bake some cookies. All Dakota wanted was Christmas Tree Cookies with green sprinkles like on Blues Clue. And being that kind of Momma that’s exactly what he got.

Now I can’t take credit for this recipe as being my own. But it is the best recipe I have found for sugar cookies. I found this recipe on Pinterest. Check it out here.

Here is some pictures of how our cookies turned out.

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Not only are they pretty but they were very tasty too.

Also check out my post from last year about my favorite childhood Christmas Cookie Here.

 

I am thankful….

I am thankful that my Hubby puts up with me as much as he does. I do love him even if I did say I wanted to buy a donkey and name it Babe (my pet name for him).

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my kids. Parenting is stressful, tiresome and some days down right awful. But without them I don’t what I would be doing or who I would be. I was meant to be a mom.

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my family. Sometimes they are stupid, crazy or weird. And some of them are all of the above all at once, but how would I know how to be normal if I didn’t have something to learn from. (To all the family members that read this, that wasn’t meant for you. Nope would never say that about you.)

Growing a large family

I am thankful for being able to homeschool and being able to have a homestead. I guess that falls under being thankful for my Hubby since he works very hard so that I don’t have too.

Growing a large family Growing a large family

I am thankful for my Autistic daughter. I am thankful it is only that and not anything worse. I have friends who are dealing with the possibility of death as an end result for their children’s condition. And I am very thankful that my daughter can walk, talk and function at a higher ability than some with this diagnosis. I know it could always be worse.

Growing a large family

I am thankful for my grandparents. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. They stepped up and made sure I had a stable home and a place to call home. For that I am forever thankful. Even though 2 are gone, they are never far from my heart or my thoughts. I am an introvert like my Grandma. I only keep a few close friends. I am a farm girl like my Grandpa. And also got his love of Country Fried Steak and dumplins.

Growing a large family

I am an animal lover like my Grandmom and also got her need to feed and take care of people. My Grandmom was a picture of grace until you got on her bad side. Then the gloves were off. I feel like I am like that. I will always be polite, even to someone I don’t care for, but if you insult me or my family, you better watch out.

 

 

 

 

I have my Grandaddy’s sense of humor. In fact, I was just telling my hubby and kids that my Great-Grandmother (his Mother in law) never liked Grandaddy because of his sense of humor and the way he would eat his food. Like fried chicken, she always used a fork and knife, where Grandaddy would pick it up with his fingers. I notice my hubby using a fork sometimes where I am like it’s finger foods, I’m using my fingers! So in the end, I am convinced that my great-grandmother wouldn’t like me either. And especially not now that I named 2 different chickens after her. See there’s that sense of humor I was talking about. He also taught me about love and devotion. Seeing him still committed to my grandmother after she has been gone almost 22 years is inspiring. You don’t see love like that nowadays and I hope my marriage is just like theirs, Strong and withstanding time.

Growing a large family

So what are you thankful for?

 

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Holidays upon us..week 7

Well it is here. The holiday craziness is officially upon us. I know I am a little behind because of illnesses and remodeling. Yes, we decided to remodel in the middle of the holidays. We did the same thing 4 years ago too. We are just crazy like that. But thankfully it is done and now I just have to reorganize my house. I am also writing this while dealing with a very sick little girl and a million things on the to do list. But I always pull it off. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth. But hey that’s life.

So what should you be doing….

Hopefully you already shopped, are ready to shop, going shopping for everything!

Grocery shop for Thanksgiving no later than this Friday. It will save you from dealing with the massive crowds.

Make a plan for your Black Friday shopping. I am not participating because it seems the stores open earlier every year. I like to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family and friends and shop on the actual Black Friday but I will just be shopping from this very computer I am writing you from.

Christmas shopping should already be happening. We have had boxes coming in at least 2-3 times a week here. I am almost completely done with my family outside of my household and just need to concentrate on my kids now. Hubby already bought his present so that’s one less person for me to worry about.

Hopefully you found my Holiday series helpful. I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Holidays ya’ll!

Chickens with Bumblefoot

Growing a large family

 

*Graphic Pics in this post. Warning for the faint of heart*

Never in a million years did I think I would be a chicken keeper! Never in a million years did I think I would love birds! Never in a million years did I think I would have the knowledge to perform a surgery on a chicken! But all of those things I can and do.

Having chickens are really not for the faint of heart. Yes they are very easy to take care of…until there is a problem.

One of the first major problems I had to encounter was bumblefoot. And I have had to deal with it on several occasions with the same 2 bozos.

Growing a large family

Thing 1 and Thing 2. These 2 seem to get it like they get bugs in the leaves. It’s crazy.

Basically bumblefoot is an infection. If they land on something and cut their foot, it could lead to bumblefoot because of all the dirt that they walk around in. Almost like a staph infection. Signs of bumblefoot are swelling, redness, a black or brown scab on the bottom and sometimes limping or holding the leg up. If left untreated it could be fatal.

On this particular day, I had, not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of bumblefoot. Thing 1 had one of her feet and, always trying to one up her sister, Thing 2 got a double case!

So I gathered my team of homeschooling homesteaders, my supplies and got to work.

Growing a large family

This is your basic supplies for bumblefoot: Epsom Salt, Honey, scalpel, vetricyn wound spray, gauze and vet wrap. As you can see some of this you will have at home. The rest I picked up at Tractor Supply. You will need a bucket or bowl so you can soak the chickens foot.

Growing a large family

Sorry for the foggy picture. I used this activity as a photography lesson for Cailin.

First, you need to get warm water in your container and add some epsom salt. I don’t measure the salt. I just pour a little and let it dissolve. This is just to soften the area around where the surgery will take place. Hold them there for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun part. Keeping them still on your lap so you can perform the surgery without hurting them.

What I do is put a towel down on my lap, then I take them out of the water and lay them on their back on my lap. I have one of my daughters immediately cover their head with a towel. Chickens can’t really see in the dark. So the towel simulates this and keeps them calm. Once in a while they will kick their leg. But usually I have my youngest daughter holding on to them so my hands are free.

Growing a large family

This was a very mild case of bumblefoot. I probably wouldn’t have known she had it, had her sister not been limping and I decided to check both of them. But for this post I am going to show you the most severe case I have had.

Growing a large family

As you can see Thing 2’s right foot is extremely swollen.

Bumblefoot~ Growing a large family

That black spot is what we need to cut out. That is the infection. Again this is the worse case I have ever had on our homestead.

Growing a large family

You take your scalpel and cut around the edge of the black scab. You shouldn’t see blood or any fluids coming out. It is literally just a scab that is holding in an infection. You will see the scab start to come loose from foot.

Growing a large family

Once you cut away the scab, you need to scoop and squeeze to make sure there is no pus still in there. I very rarely get extra pus out. But at this point you have an open wound.

Growing a large family

Spray with wound care, put a little honey on the gauze and place over the incision area.

Growing a large family

Wrap with vet wrap. You will want to change the wrap at least once a day. If you see it has fallen off, then soak in warm water to kill any germs and repeat with meds. You may even need to use some medical tape to keep it on. Within 3-5 days it should be better and can remove the bandage.

Growing a large family

 

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Holidays Upon us..week 6

We have 2 more weeks of Holidays upon us post and then it is here. All the craziness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Thanksgiving: Get your final menu figured out! Hand out assignments of who is to bring what. Figure out your portion of the meal and make a grocery list. Also remember plates, cups and silverware. If you are fancy and use non-paper items, make sure you have enough. I use paper goods, but I like all of my food served in regular dishes. So I will be getting them out this week and washing them up and seeing what I still need.

Black Friday: The ads are slowly starting to roll out. I am still waiting for the 2 bigger ones: Target and Walmart. But there are a lot that have already been posted. Check them out here.

If you haven’t started yet, then start that shopping!!!

You only have 45 days to go!

I know I didn’t say anything about Christmas in this post. That’s because I have a special Christmas post coming on Wednesday.

Peak into our homeschool life

Like I had said in an earlier post, we didn’t start a new school year in August. We are still finishing up Kindergarten, 7th and 9th grade. Our new school year begins in January, after our holiday break.

But I wanted to give you a peak into some of the things we have been doing.

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Scavenger Hunt at the park

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Beginning spelling and yes he is shirtless 99% of the time

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This is after he beat me at Go Fish for the millionth time

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Pumpkin fun

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More Park Fun

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She free-handed her pumpkin drawing then carved it.

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My lil farmer boy

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Homeschool Day at the Florida Aquarium

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Turtle Learning at the Florida Aquarium

We have had a lot of park days lately. We also have had quite a few field trips.

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Eat at Home Challenge

For the last 2 months, we have really struggled with fast food. Our lives have been so busy with at least 3-4 activities on the calendar every week that it was easier to just grab something while we were out. But then there was also moments of how about we go here and there for dinner. Or do you want to get this or that for breakfast. It got out of control.

My proudest moment was when I had to take my daughter for a last-minute, late in the day doctor appointment. After the appointment, I had to make the, normally 30 minute, drive back to our hometown during rush hour traffic and stop at the pharmacy. It would have been easy to get sucked into the let’s just pick something up game. But I refused! I knew I had meat thawed in the fridge that needed to be used up. I knew we had already ate out at lunch time because of a homeschool meeting. I knew we were going over to my mom’s for pizza the next day. And I wasn’t going to do it! I got home and with the help of my middle daughter. I made dinner at home. It was completely from scratch. But it was the best I could do under the circumstances and much better than fast food. We had pork chops, mac and cheese (organic from a box) and broccoli. And I was darn proud. So proud, I turned around and did it again on Saturday. And then again on Monday.  3 busy days that could have been easier to just throw the towel in and hit the drive through. But I didn’t!

So to take it a step further, I am challenging myself to a 2 week eat at home challenge. I am going to start as of this Sunday. That means I am already 2 days into it. I actually signed up for this challenge through Eat at Home Cooks. I really love this blog because it gives some simple tips and makes it easy for all of us to eat at home. Not to mention the recipes are yummy.

And let’s be honest we all need to eat at home to make room in the fridge, freezer and our waistline for all those holiday foods that are coming up.

Cayuga Ducks

I have 2 Cayuga Ducks on my homestead right now. I love these ducks. I have 1 male and 1 female. I named them Hook and Dark Swan in honor of the show, Once upon a time.

Hook is such a sweetheart. He is one of the ducklings we hatched.

Cayuga Ducks~Growing a large family

He likes to chase after our feet and nibble at our boots. He is also very spoiled by his Mama. He always waits for his food because he knows I let him eat out of the food container. He is also very curious of everything, like my camera.

Cayuga~ Growing a large family

The male Cayugas have more green coloring on their heads than females do. Also you know a duck is a male because they will get a few feathers that flip back towards their head near their tail.

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Male Cayuga~notice coloring on head and flip tail feather

Females are also more vocal. That is how I knew my Lucky Duck was a girl. Now my female Cayuga isn’t as vocal as Lucky, but very much has the features of a girl.

Female Cayugas have darker beaks and are mostly black with very little variation in coloring. Also the biggest giveaway is no flip feather on their tail.

Dark Swan is more standoffish when it comes to people. But if you have food or treats then watch out. She pushes most of the chickens out of the way to get to them. She is more calm and doesn’t freak out when you walk near her, which some males have a tendency of doing.

Cayuga Duck~ Growing a large family

Female Cayuga~ no flip tail feather and the coloring is more on the feathers and less on the head.

For a year, I told my hubby that I wanted Pekins. They were the best ducks for my homestead. But one day, I was reading a duck magazine and when I read about Cayugas and the amazing thing they do, I had to have them.

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

That is the best first egg I have ever gotten. Only the first egg comes out black then they start getting lighter in color. My one Cayuga female has been laying for a few weeks now and has laid more eggs than some of my chickens. Ducks will out lay them and keep laying during the winter.

Another exciting moment was when I found the egg in the nesting boxes! Most of the time ducks will just lay an egg where ever they want and you have to hunt it down. Not with my girl! She has laid every egg either in the nesting box, coop or run. It makes my life so much easier! Hopefully she can train any other girl ducks we get to do the same.

Duck eggs are best used for baking. It gives it a much richer taste. Some people will use duck eggs just like a chicken egg. But then others say it has more of a game taste or is much saltier, depending on your breed. I personally have only use them for baking.

And of course this……

Cayuga Eggs in Incubator~Growing a large family

 

My Hubby is going to kill me.

 

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