I must admit, I’ve been off the blog for a while.
My last chicken, Survivor, died last summer. She was called survivor, because she was the last one of a group of 25. They were the original 25 that inspired me to start finding out all I could about eggs, chickens and recipes on eggs. Survivor was nearly a decade old.
Chickens die of many things. Some illness, some mysteriously disappear (I’d like to think they run away from home for a life of fame and fortune, but sadly, I doubt they leave without help from a predator). I’ve had ravens come down and kill a chicken or two. An eagle snatched up a small one. Raccoons find intriguing (but gruesome) ways of grimly reaping a few. Egg binding is sad. There are so many ways that chickens shuffle off the mortal coil.
But, to be honest, I was sick of eggs, too. Time to take a break.
So, now it is time to order a new batch. The coop is cleaned. The chicken yard will have new grass and grain seeds planted. Netting will tent the yard. Some bushes have been added. The nesting coop has had the security beefed up, and soon the fencing will be improved.
I’ve learned from my past mistakes.
The brooder area is set up. The days are getting longer (heck, in two weeks we will change the clocks forward, and spring is on the calendar for this month).
It is time to place the order for another 25 chickens (mostly hens, oh I do HOPE mostly hens). Then, await the early morning call from the post office to pick up the compact box, with holes and bright letters “caution live animals” that will be peeping. The peeps are so cute. The peeps become so annoying because they are incessant.
Chicks are so cute when they are a week old. After that, not so much. They manufacture their body weight in excrement, daily. They try to escape. They will pick at each other with abandon (unless you “enrich” their brooding pen with greens and more interesting foods, and items). They grow rapidly, and in just a few weeks will be fully feathered, and ready to brave the new world.
There are so many breeds of chickens. I’ve learned to avoid any birds described as “lively and quick” (they escape, they roost in trees, they freak out and cause a panic of the flock whenever possible). I’ve found lively and quick means “type A” and prone to chicken anxiety issues. I like the larger birds, described as laid back and calm. I want couch potato birds. Not much ambition, and very little stress.
But, the color combinations are hard to resist — reds, golds, blue/black, yellow, orange, white. And, the patterns and variation are so interesting. On one hand it would be lovely to have a yard full of identical chickens (my favorite are the butter-golden Buff Orpington), but I want a mix of white, brown, greenish, and pinkish eggs, and maybe some dark, dark chocolate brown ones.
Maybe I am starting to get a little too excited