year in review: the chickens

I know, I know.  I write a lot about the chickens.  Who needs yet another fowl post.  Nonetheless, here goes.

The chickens continue to entertain, amuse, and produce yummy eggs.  It’s been fun having the three no-longer-new Easter eggers.  They are beautiful and Beaker is quite the egg layer.  Then again, she’s a hippy hen who looks like an equilateral triangle both from  behind and profile so she seems to have the perfect laying body.  Who knew!  Hawkeye still wins the prize for most beautiful chicken and we are waiting for Cleo to catch up and start producing.  She started scratching around the eggers’ floor nest the other day so we suspect she’ll start laying any day now.

There have been highlights in chicken-land over the past year.  The eggers are really cute.  It was fun having two chicks for a whopping 24 hours.  Scruffy, although his life was short-lived, was also a good and interesting addition–for a while.  Overall, we like having chickens.

But the lowlights.  The three dominiques killing the little brown chick.  [Sniff, still.]  Heidi dying.  Facing that first bowl of chicken (aka Heidi) soup.  And realizing that Scruffy was going to have a good bad day very, very soon.

The other challenge has been dealing with the hens’ unpredictable laying.  Some have been broody–a lot.  We also forgot about molting, which understandably turns off the laying instinct for a while until their feathers are back to normal.  It seems like Daisy, Ella, Caroline, and Nony should still be in their prime laying years.  Yet none of them have laid for several months now.  Only Pippi, Hawkeye, and Beaker are laying.  Thus, we are feeding a lot of hens for not a lot of eggs.

I’d like them to lay more and I’m consciously avoiding doing the math on cost of chicken feed versus average eggs per week.  However, neither of us (humans) are willing to be strictly functional or instrumental about chicken ownership.  But there are moments when it does seem somewhat silly.  Fortunately, we’re not trying to break even, let alone turn a profit.  True farming life is really tough.

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