Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chicken Update (We Are So Out of Hand Here)

Remember when I said, "We are getting eight chicks?" Hah. That was before the later stages of Mad Chicken Disease appeared in our brains. There are just so many cool breeds out there, and we are trying to raise/produce more of our own food, and Mom (Mom Bergman, I mean) is always up for any project you can think of (I love that about her) ... the upshot is we have ordered ... um ... 25 chicks. Stop laughing.

We'll raise 10 for eggs, and kill 15 this fall, with part of them going to Mom & Dad Bergman (I suspect we might smuggle one down to Mom Fry, too), part of them going in our freezer, and a couple going to whatever other poor saps we wrangle in to help us do the dirty work. I had just finished saying to Scott, "Fine. But I refuse to do the actual executions. I'll clean and pluck, but I can't actually kill them," when Emily broke in very calmly with, "Mom. They're chickens. Why are you so squeamish? I can't wait for fresh chicken dinner!" She is the weirdest combination ever of super-sensitive and ultra-practical. On the other hand, I think it's downright unfair to be someone who's willing to eat meat in its final, clean, tidy form but go all self-righteous about how it's not "nice" to do the dirty-work part (yes, I'm working on that part of myself!).

Anyway, Scott's been working like a fiend on the chickenhouse. We have discovered a direct correlation between him working on said project and the commencement of sleet and/or snow. (We are having such a strange spring.) Here's some recent proof of progress. The "box" on the side is how you can get the eggs without going inside the chickenhouse -- you lift up the little "roof". The chicken run will be on the left side of this picture, going around the north side of our garage/workshop. The chickenhouse has room for 12 full-grown chickens to roost and lay -- so we will have plenty of space for our 25 small ones; plus, there is an "addition" deal that can be built on if necessary.

Yesterday, the kids and I drove out to see some friends of ours who have two two-week-old bumper lambs they are bottle-feeding and raising. They (the lambs) are cute as heck (not to say the friends aren't cute!). Still, I think I'll stop at chickens for now.


  1. I like your chickenhouse, we don't have any here in Ireland but in Tanzania we did for our eggs, and it was lovely to go out and collect our eggs every day. One day the chickens started disappearing - and then two were dead when we went out one morning. Our intrepid watchman (we lived in the bush) suspected snake attack and sure enough soon after there was a great commotion outside in the chicken run, and he had caught a big black mamba with a forked stick and killed it with his panga (machete). So that was our chicken days - not quite over but we reinforced our run and ensured no snakes could enter from below or above! Your post reminded me of all this from over 25 years ago!

  2. Eeek! I hope sincerely we don't have any big snakes feasting on our chickens -- our big worries around here are raccoons, foxes, and opossums. 'Possums are the ugliest things known to man--have you ever seen them? (I don't know if they're outside of North America.) They look like extremely large weasels, I think, with a bald tail like a rat. My father once shot one inside our cat's outdoor house. It got rid of the 'possum, but the resulting mess was ... um ... something. Still, I think I prefer them to black mambas!!

  3. yes the black mamba, affectionately known as the 1-2-3 snake as that's how far you can count before you're out and dead! As for possums, no we don't have them in Ireland and I never heard of them in other European countries though they may well exist. I always associate them with Australia thanks to the Dame Edna Everidge character who goes Hallo Possums in her inimicable greeting! Totally OTT!