Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chicken Tillers, Mice Killers

We had a cultured cheese class this weekend. We made two soft cheeses one being the feta in olive oil and fresh herbs pictured, and a paneer -- which reminded me of ricotta. We also made cultured butter that tastes divine! Actually made some of that last night out of local raw fresh cream and used it on homemade french toast with real maple syrup. The small plastic bag is a bit of the "piima" or a two generation old Scandanavian culture that we got to bring home for our future endeavors. It can be kept like this for months in the freezer.

Um... this is a little gross, so be warned. We unleashed our tiller in the form of 8 hens onto our vegetable garden area. A "chicken-tractor" if you will. to scratch up turned sod and eat bugs. The cats had also been in and out of the area. At some point one killed a mouse, but grew tired of it... leaving the mousey corpse behind. I noticed it when turning sod and though nothing of it. However, one of the Speckled Sussex hens spotted the mouse and snatched it up in her beak like it was candy. She ran all about at the same time she tried to scarf it down before the hens chasing her could wrest it away. Here she is off alone in a corner after everyone gave up the chase, and you can just make out the mouse tail hanging from her beak. The hen swallowed the rest shortly after the picture. While I've heard some breeds of chickens will kill and even eat rodents after their food, this is the first time I ever witnessed it happening. At least the mouse eating part!

Can you make out ALL the animals hanging out in the picture of just turned sod??

This is our weekend BBQ fire, within which we roasted local Hemplers no-nitrate all natural hotdogs as night claimed the sky.


Jannette said...

The eggs were just wonderful - however, I am very happy that they were laid and eaten BEFORE I saw the mouse tail hanging out of that beak...

So much for vegetarian fed chicken...(bugs are almost vegetables, I don't count those :))

Anonymous said...

Have you seen a chicken do such a thing?? We were non-plussed! Ask your mom please if she ever had chickens eat a mouse...??

I believe J did some checking and allegedly even mouse cooties wouldn't permeate the eggs. Whew!!

Jannette said...

I was not worried about mouse cooties...I was exagerating a bit there. I see too many dead mice eaten by birds. Having cut a mouse into 16 pieces to handfeed a bird, the mice parts loose their shocking abilities. It is just so unexpected, and for J to have the camera there :)

I will ask if one of my chicken raising relatives has ever heard of this.

Kind of cool too, mouse hunters for people that are allergic to cats.

Dani said...

I wasn't exagerating! First thing that popped in my head... Hanta Virus by egg... gack!