Raising 14 chickens for a year with no losses?
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!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Image courtesy: itsnature.org