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June 21, 2022

Update on Buckhorn’s Flock of Hens

Many of you have kindly asked after our laying hens, so I am providing an update.  Our pullets moved from their brooder into their coop, the Greenlayer House, earlier this spring.  (The coop is behind the Greenbrier House, so what else could we call it?). We moved them two by two.  They all seemed excited by the adventure, with the exception of Hazel.  She complained loudly the entire way:  “Where are you taking me?  I like the brooder!  What do you think you are doing?  Don’t I have a choice in this?”

Ultimately they all settled into their new coop.  We kept them inside for the first two weeks to reinforce the idea that the coop is their safe place.  Then we let them out into the run during the day.  Jack spent a lot of time and effort “critter-proofing” the run.  We feel we have done our best to guard against raccoons, foxes, opossums, snakes, hawks, and other varmints.  As the locals have told us, unfortunately there is no way to “bear-proof” a chicken coop.  They are attracted by the scent of the chicken feed, so we take it away each evening when we close our ladies safely into their house for the night.  So far so good.

Hens Try Free-Ranging

Last evening we let our little flock free range for 20 minutes or so before bedtime.  Ever intrepid and plucky, Hazel led Quiche, Omelet, Benedict, Scrambled, and Poached on a grand tour outside the perimeter of their run.  Scrambled, however, tried an interesting tactic.  She let the others spring out of the run, then she ran back to gobble more food.  She then plopped herself down in the coop doorway as though she were claiming the space for herself.  I think she was daring the others to come back!  However the sounds of fun from the rest of the flock were too much, and she soon joined them on their jaunt.

The hens proved fearless in their explorations.

Our hens loved exploring outside their run!

Hazel faithfully led her merry little band back into the run.  Usually they climb into the coop and select their roost space by 9:00 pm.  They appeared so excited by their adventure, however, that they stayed outside and talked about it until nearly 9:30.  It was quite dark by the time the last one entered the coop and I could close the door.

Our hens are growing quickly and we expect our first egg sometime in mid-July.  We will keep you posted!

April 1, 2022

The Chicken or the Egg? The Chicken!

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Well here at Buckhorn Inn, the answer is the chicken!  We are starting our own little flock of laying hens.  While we can’t produce enough eggs to satisfy the needs of our kitchen, we will be using our own eggs in your breakfast dishes and baked goods.

A happy, healthy chick grows into a healthy chicken.

Thanks to Brian David for the picture of these healthy and happy chicks.

We will be picking up our chicks from the Farmers Co-op this Saturday.  We are looking for a sturdy breed and will take our pick from the newly hatched chicks.  Baby chicks are so darn cute that I will have to exercise self-restraint…otherwise I will come home with all of them!

We have a brooder set up with a heat source to keep the chicks warm and safe for their first six weeks or so.  Then they will be transferred to our new coop.  Our coop will be outfitted with roosts, nesting boxes, food and water dispensers, and an outdoor yard.  Hmm, a bed and breakfast for chickens?  

I also plan to try out a technique I have read about:  Placing a few herb sprigs in each nesting box.  Aromatherapy for my flock?  Maybe!  But I have read that herbs may help discourage flies and mites.  And some herbs may act as laying stimulants.    So I will try some rosemary, basil and mint sprigs and let you know how the girls like them! 

Perfect Poached Eggs

In anticipation of all of those fresh eggs, here is a technique for perfect poached eggs.  You can find a video of Alton Brown poaching eggs on http://Www.food network.com

Heat enough water to be 1 inch deep in your pan.  Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar.  Bring water to a simmer over medium heat.  Crack a large, fresh, cold egg into a ramekin.  Use a spoon to stir the simmering water in one direction until it is spinning smoothly.  Carefully drop the egg into the middle of the “whirlpool” you have created.  Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and wait for 5 minutes.  Lift out the egg with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.