Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some Feathered Friends

I haven't always wanted chickens. To be honest, I really never gave them much thought... until I visited my neighbor, who had a small flock of chickens. I was fascinated by the interesting things she told me about her chickens and their behavior. Then she sent me home with some fresh eggs. I thought it was a nice gesture, and while her eggs were very pretty in various shades of tan, brown, green and blue, I didn't expect any difference in taste. I was wrong though. Fresh eggs definitely taste different - in a really good way!

So then I was hooked and had to have some chickens of my own. I've had chickens since April 2006 now. The past two springs I have even raised some chickens for meat. Did you know that there is a big difference between the chickens you keep for eggs, and the broiler birds you raise for meat? They're like two separate animals. Stick around, I'm sure I'll walk you through it next year.

Currently though, I have 21 laying hens. Some are old and don't lay many eggs anymore, but they're nice old gals and so I'll just keep on feeding and housing them through their retirement years.

The girls are well protected by two roosters. We call the older one, Herman, because he looks just like my neighbor's rooster whose name is Herman. Yes, I was a total copycat on that one. I couldn't think of a name for him and Herman seemed like a great thing to call a rooster. Don't laugh. Have you ever tried to name a rooster? So now when I'm talking to my neighbor, I refer to him as "my Herman" as opposed to "your Herman." She knows what I'm talking about - or at least she pretends that she does. That is Herman there in the picture to the left. He's a curious fellow, but also pretty darn gentle for a rooster. The younger one never even got a stolen name. I just call him "the younger rooster." It doesn't seem to have given him any kind of complex yet.

Then there are my smaller, new chickens. I ordered eggs from eBay and incubated them this spring. What I have now are one Frizzle rooster, one Frizzle hen, and two Silky hens. They are smaller chickens and they lay tiny little eggs (though these haven't reached the laying stage just yet.) The silkies appear to have wild fuzzy hair rather than feathers, and the frizzles look more like regular chickens that have been caught in a windstorm. Their feathers curl around all over the place. I think the purpose of these four will be purely to make me smile every day. They look both cute and ridiculous. I need to get some current pictures of them so they can make you smile too.

So that's how the chickens found their way into our lives. They are the one and only animal here that actually makes an effort to earn their keep. We keep them fed, and they return the favor:


Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated that you hold this kind of knowledge about chickens. I love a good blog site--followed you and your family with Erin's hospitalization...I follow another friend of Mike's with her daughter who has a chromosome anomaly, and I view Matt Hughes (UFC) blog site too. I'll continue to check this site and post a comment so you don't feel alone in cyberspace...Sheila

Di Mackey said...

I dream of fresh eggs here in Belgium. It was simpler when I lived back home in New Zealand.