Monday, March 15, 2010

Here Chick, Chick, Chick....

Today I'm writing about chickens.  More specifically, our chickens.  I love our chickens.  They are social, they give us eggs and meat.  And they're kinda cute.

And this is coming from a girl who HATES birds.  And I do mean HATE.

We started keeping chickens about three years ago.  We started with a small flock of Rhode Island Reds.  They were very happy with us.  We raised them up from young chicks.  They were just about to start laying eggs.......then the dogs got into them.  That was not a fun day, let me tell you.

We added a new batch of hens to our one lone survivior of the dog attack and waited out another egg-less winter.  Every day the wee things went out to the coop to check for eggs.  Every day all winter long, they were disappointed.  Then we started getting some warm, sunny winter days.  The kids were so excited on the first sunny warmish late winter day when we got our first egg.  They were even more excited the next day when we got a green egg - just in time for Dr. Suess's birthday!

We're now entering into our third spring with chickens.  Last fall we got rid of some of our older chickens and picked up a bunch of pullets.  We waited out the winter, watching them grow, fighting off owls and hawks (and losing about 6 of them to the predators), and now it's spring again!  Imagine our suprise that out of about 30 pullets, we ended up with 15 roosters! 

This spring was the first time that Thing #4 really got to enjoy the suprise and delight of the season's first egg.  She walked out to the coop with me and just about screamed when she saw the "eggie" there!  The brightness shining in her eyes was just melting a Momma's heart.  Then when she dropped said "eggie" a few minutes later and the overwhelming sadness there just about made it break.  Poor baby!

So this week, DH is taking our 15 roosters to a farmer we know and trading them out for some hens.  We're hoping for a good batch to add to our flock.  We did keep 3 of the roosters.  Big Red, our youngster from last year is the new dominent rooster.  We also kept Chicken Little, the first chicken we hatched out of our incubator last year (and a suprise rooster at that!).  And one cute little speckled guy that's a cross between a Barred Rock and something else (maybe a leghorn?).  We do need to find a new name for that guy though, because I think I saw murder in his eyes when Thing #1 called him Mr. Speckles.  I guess he wants a more dignified rooster name!

I love our "girls" and their men.  The kids enjoy running around with them in the yard and sometimes chasing them.  We love the eggs we get (in fact, I'm eyeing up some new egg recipes to try this year) and the meat they provide keeps us in poultry all winter long.  Not to mention that the eggs and meat taste so much better than store-bought stuff!

Yay for chickens!


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