life on the funny farm

Friday, April 27, 2012

Farm Friday - What I've Learnt in My Year of Chickens.

Raising 14 chickens for a year with no losses?

Nailed it.

That's right. I have raised up 14 chickens from day old fuzz balls

to full-grown egg machines.

Not to brag or anything, but I have lost not one to disease or escape or predation.

We've been through a lot this last year, the chickens, the kids and I.

And we've learnt a few things (that's how country-folk say learned).

From building the Chick Shack, and then the Hen House,

I've learnt that when armed with a stapler, and pitted against a roll of chicken wire in a psychotic wrestling match, you can win that match if insanity runs at all in your family.

From watching our sweet and mild-mannered little crested chick came out of the closet and declare himself a rooster, I've learnt that what Forrest Gump's Mama says is true: ya' never know what you're gonna get.
That rooster would be Big Daddy.

And he is of the devil.

I've learnt that book-learning is no match for experience: in my chicken ignorance, I brutally violated one of my favorite hens when I thought she was egg-bound, when all she really wanted to do was sit on ner nest (it's called "going broody" for all you urbanites not fluent in chicken). Treatment for her non-existing malady involved a can of Pam, a heating pad, and latex gloves. It was not pretty. She still trembles when she sees me and she is working closely with a counselor from the Rape Crisis Center.

We have learnt that the only thing that stands between Big Daddy, and our ankles turning to mincemeat, is the expert wielding of an old mop. We have become King Fu masters with the mop.

I have learnt that with a chicken coop and rats: if you build it, they will come.

Prior to chicken-ownership, our barn had a rat or two.

I defy you to produce for me the barn that has not one rat. Yeah. I thought so.

Anyway, now have a full-blown rat problem. I don't like to use poison or traps, and the dogs and cats haven't done much to put a dent in their population. And so they sit up in their nests in the rafters and they mock me.

They have parties and they high-five each other for being so prolific.

They have begun to host rat conventions, where they do team-building exercises and discuss strategies for growth and networking.

It's all very demoralizing.

We (meaning I) have also learnt what the hay to do with the 7 or 8 dozen eggs we get PER WEEK in the warmer weather....

Here comes another Forrest Gump reference. Just picture me saying this while scrubbing a floor with a toothbrush. It's funnier that way...

There's egg fritatta, egg stratta, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, you can hard-boil eggs, you can make omelettes, or eggs Benedict, and there's waffles, pancakes, pound cake, bread, burritos, sandwiches, souffle, devilled eggs, egg salad, quiche, custard, then there's eggnog, casseroles, cakes and brownies, cookies, French toast, egg-in-a-hole, muffins, cornbread, crepes.....

That's, that's about it.

And that's about it for what I've learnt in my year of chickens, too.

For this year. We'll see what next year holds...

I have also learnt that if my blog is to climb in the ranks on Top Mommy Blogs, I'll need your votes. Just one click of this button (below) and you've voted. You can vote every day!
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  1. I love your Forest Gump. I can't imagine having that many eggs. It takes us awhile to just get through one dozen. I do love the look of roosters and hens though. When we went to the Maryland State Fair a few years ago, all my pictures were of the roosters and the hens. I'm not exactly sure why...

  2. Oooh, thank you for that list. Finding myself with an extra carton of eggs this week, all I could think of was quiche. Unfortunately, that didn't actually use as many eggs as I assumed ... Now I need a Plan B!

  3. @Andrea and Katy: thanks! Bubba listing all those shrimp dishes came to mind right away for me when thinking of what I could make with all those eggs! Before we had chickens we were going through about 3 - 4 dozen eggs a week, so I definitely have to get creative. In the summer months, we give some away to friends, but we do eat a lot of them ourselves. I don't know what I enjoy more, having frsh eggs, or watching my chickens. They're very entertaining!

  4. Good luck on the rat population. I keep sticky traps all over the house for mice, I think they reproduce like every 3 weeks, finally have not seen or trapped one in several weeks. Even in my truck, caught 4 in it. I think besides the domestic ones I import them from the feed store in bales of hay.

  5. Sticky traps skeeve me out. Our latest thing is we have our son's friend go out at night with his pellet gun and pick the rats off. He's a pretty good shot, too.

  6. How about meringues, angel food cake, hollandaise sauce (for the yolks left from the meringues and angel food cake), and...check out Middle Eastern and North African cookbooks or other ideas of what to do with eggs. I'm an egg-eating vegetarian and would love to get some of those fresh farm eggs, but don't live in a place where we could raise chickens and rats.

  7. @CERN Wife, Haha! "Don't live in a place where we could raise chickens and rats"! Too funny....

  8. I think if I had that many eggs I'd have to sell them or give them away. No way I could eat that much! But then I'm still kidless. Ask me again in a few years LOL

  9. We purchased a black box called the 'alley cat' that has cleared up the rat population. That and seven cats with a little ferel blood in them who have taken on bigger. :)

    That rooster of yours does look a little devilish, what is he?

  10. Kirra, it's amazing how many eggs a 1/2 dozen kids can go through. I'll boil up a dozen (eggs, not kids) just for snacks and they'll be gone in a day or two.

    Wonderwoman, I'll have to look for the "alley cat". How does it kill them and what do you do with them?

  11. Love it! All of this is so true and in real life not so fun, but you made it sound hilarious :)!!!!

  12. Thanks MamaHen (love the name)! If we're not cryin' we're laughin', right? I'd rather be laughin'...

  13. Anne, the Alley Cat is a black box that the critter can go into with a block of poison in it. Being a block, there is no fear of little pellets of poison being around for domestic animals or children getting into.

  14. Thanks, Wonderwoman. I will definitely look into getting me an Alley Cat!

  15. HA! I got to your post through the homestead revival barn hop. I love it and will add you to my follow list! I so felt like that last week (Shrimp clip) when I had 3 overflowing 18ct cartons of egg in my fridge! Needless to say my blog followers are getting egg-heavy recipes this year! Except I only have 5 birds and 3 mouths to feed.

  16. I really really want to get chickens but the thought of rats almost makes me cry! I can hardly look at pictures of them! My boy loves his bbgun though so maybe we can work out a deal. Thanks for the laugh!

  17. You can probably control the rats if you're not lazy like me. You could put their food away at night and that owuld make a huge difference right there. They are so cute and totally worth it (I think!). Thanks Amy!

  18. That's great you haven't lost any!

    We do a lot of egg recipes too. We only have 6 right now (rooster included) so we're not as bombarded as we were last summer with eggs. We're just about right for our family of 5. If I get a surplus, I do egg salad - easy way to use a ton of eggs at once!

  19. Oh my you have learned a lot. I remember going through this we have been farming for 32 years now and like you have learned much. It is always nice to read what others have learned so you can learn from their mistakes making your life just a little more simple. Good luck. I myself would not change anything about Our Journey but I am happy I cry less now. B

  20. Saw your link on A Rural Thursday, Anne. I enjoyed your About Page; you made me lol right from the start!

    I didn't have hens growing up, but the Hubby did. I took over his Mom's hens and the rest is history. The #1 thing I learned about chickens is they are so dirty!!

    No rats in our old coop, but see a mouse or two. The cats raid the coop, so we don't see a lot of mice. A few years ago we had 2 rattle snakes in the coop. No chickens harmed by snakes or cats.

  21. @Lisa, egg salad, now why didn't I think of that?! Thanks for stopping by...
    @Buttons, still waiting for that time when I'm crying less. Kidding. Not. (who knows?) Glad to have you here, thanks for coming by!

  22. what a super post and even better than have 2 sets of twins??? how lucky are you! i have one set of spectacular identical 10 year old boy twins that i just love to pieces. i never knew i wanted twins till i had them! how doubly blessed are you?!!!

  23. Hi Tanya, thanks! Actually I don't have "real" twins. Some of my kids are adopted, and they are all close in age. I currently have three 14 y/o girls (they are seven months from oldest to youngest), two 17 y/o boys, and a 12 y/o boy. God bless you and your twins!

  24. Good for you for raising a flock of chicks with no losses! That's amazing. Thank you for sharing your tips with us at Rural Thursdays. :)

  25. Love this post. We have 5 guineas (started out with 13 but it's survival of the fittest). Anyway, we haven't had a problem with snakes or rats since. They are loud - but apparently scare away little predators - although our rat snake was HUGE. You could have heard me screaming in the next county. Love your blog. Thanks for visiting mine.

  26. The Forrest Gump Reference was the best and seriously love that movie. So awesome you could work that into this post. But does seem like you learned so much and think the rat problem would be enough for me to have packed it in. So, I am truly impressed!! #TALU

  27. Aren't chickens wonderful and so entertaining! Love your post, as always! Have a great day! TALU

  28. Talk of chickens is always entertaining for a city girl like me!~TALU~

  29. Congratulations and I'll have the eggs benedict. TALU

  30. Would love to stop by for quiche, but I'd be afraid Willard would sick the rats on us!! ;)



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