Posts Tagged ‘chickens’

Nobody Here But Us Chickens!

Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.

-Russian Proverb

About a month ago we were finally able to get our hands on a small flock of chickens. Five laying hens plus a gentleman rooster. We were told they were only about a year old and laid well all summer and into the fall. We set them up in an old hunting shed complete with nesting boxes and eagerly awaited the frittata fodder. Every day I would go out to the coop to freshen their food and water and strain to peek into the nesting boxes. Each day I was disappointed, until today! Cory and I found this beautiful green egg nestled in the hay.

Green Eggs and Ham Anyone?

 We think it belongs to the lady on the left. I’ve decided to call her Sophie. She’s pictured below with Edna.


Irene Saves Chickens! (for a bit)

“The Sky is falling!”

 – Chicken Little

So after months of bitching about unemployment, I now have three jobs. Needless to say I’m about three times busier than I was before, but I’m going to try to write more often.

Last Sunday was scheduled to be Chicken Killing Day, but that was before Irene decided to pay a visit. Chicken Doom Day was then pushed back to Thursday, although I’m not sure how the reprieve benefited them. Over the last few weeks, as they speedily expanded in size, they also seemed to become increasingly uncomfortable. They walked a few steps at a time on legs that couldn’t possibly support their weight, wobbled, then sat down, hopefully a little closer to the grain feeder. When we first put them into their chicken trailer, I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t have enough room to move around. It never occurred to me that even if they had wanted to scurry about they wouldn’t be able to. Several broke legs because they’re breed to outgrow their own skeletons, and they usually died soon after. We went from 19 to 26. Next year I want to raise an heirloom breed that isn’t so intensely messed with, if such a kind even exists. It was sad and disheartening to watch them stumble about like little Frankenchicken monsters.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) I had to work on Thursday and missed most of the slaughter. I arrived home to find the kitchen table covered with naked, puckered chicken carcasses and Cory, Danny and Pat arguing over how to operate the vacuum sealer. From the corrugated brows and bickering I assumed everyone had a real blast.

Chicken Souls

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
-Martina Navratilova 

After travel and internet difficulties I’m back! The chickens are huge, stinky and, well, not cute. They’re outside in a chicken trailer, so I guess they’re not technically free-range but they’ve got plenty of room. They huddle together in a big group in a sunny spot or scrabble in pairs over food or water. They’re fairly hideous and I must say I feel no attachment to them at all.  I’m ready and willing to fry up and eat them.

While it’s a struggle to see the chickens as individuals, it’s still upsetting to lose one. The chicken trailer has (or I should say, had, it’s since been remedied) small triangular spaces in each corner where a chicky could (apparently) get trapped. Cory found the unfortunate chick stuffed into one of the corners with a broken neck. Cory suspected fowl play. Just kidding…we think he got pushed up under the plywood and his little neck couldn’t take it. Danny fired up the excavator and disposed of the body. Well, at least that’s what he said he was going to do, it may have been a joke…it’s hard to tell.  

The pigs are doing well. I bought them a baby pool to play in when it gets hot. They love it. I can’t express how satisfying it was to see them plop down in it the first time. It’s extraordinary how different my feelings are for the chickens versus the pigs. I think of the pigs as food, there’s no question. When I look at Walter’s back legs I clearly see little hams, but I also look at their faces and see clearly defined personalities and preferences. Walter likes peaches better than watermelon. Flo will always choose the melon. Only having two pigs it’s easy to see them as unique little souls. If I had fifty, this might not be so.

I’d like to think I’m not swayed to prefer to pigs merely because they’re cuter. I’d like to think I’m not that shallow. We have 25 chickens so it’s much more difficult to get to know each one, and that’s assuming they even have unique personalities. I don’t really have enough experience with chickens to really know. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go out to the chicken trailer and sit with the chickys…I’ll report my findings.

Pinky Progress and Chicks

I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. unfortunately, the man-made sound never equaled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.

-Alfred Hitchcock

The pigs have grown. They’re now too big to both eat out of the feeder at the same time, so they’ve taken to scrabbling over it. Walter, who’s successfully increased his size margin over Flo, eats first. She fights him the entire time, standing off to the side screaming and squealing, until he moves to finally let her in. Sometimes the noise reaches such a fevered pitch that I haul a few handfuls of grain out of the feeder and make Flo a pile. And then they fight over that.

Walter’s growing hams.
The chickens have arrived…
 26 meat birds. We’re currently keeping them in a large cardboard box. At first it was in the sunroom of Cory’s parent’s house, but by the second morning they smelled so foul they had to be moved to the garage.

Because the chicks are so fragile they give you 1 or 2 extra in your batch, in case any die. Cory is categorically against losing even one, so he’s been diligent about keeping them warm and watered. Fresh water is important to prevent constipation; a chicky killer!