Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poultry Musings

I have basically been a chicken queen for 59 years. My dad owned and operated an egg farm (60,000+ birds) here in SE Idaho for 30 years. I was involved in all aspects of that until he closed his farm. Now I have about 24 chickens of my own.

Here are my 2cents worth of observations:

  • When chickens have been your livelihood you do not get attached. I tried naming my own chickens and can't do it. I just can 't remember or care who was Henny Penny or Olive. And when one of them dies, I shed no tears (and I'm a crier). I just scoop it up and dispose of it. The only time I cried over a chicken's death was when I botched the butcher of it and only half severed its head. I still feel badly about its unnecessary suffering.
  • I find it slightly comical that people actually clean their chicken coops daily. When you have a commercial chicken operation, the shiz gets piled higher and deeper before there is time to scrape it out. There was no such thing as a disinfectant used in any of the coops. Ever. Now that I have my own birds and am working in an office 40 hours a week I find that I still don't care that the coop is not pristine. The birds don't seem to care either.
  • Egg eating chickens are a pain! I did discover a way to break them of it. I got a slightly sadistic pleasure out of poking a hole in one end of a nice strong egg shell, blowing out it's contents and then filling the egg with either liquid dish soap or mustard. I added a few drops of food coloring so that I could identify the culprit. I had to create new "egg bombs" every day for about 3-4 days before the blue-beaked bird had enough and quit eating eggs. I still get the chuckles about it and almost wish I could break another bird of that nasty habit.
  • Lhasa Apso dogs can start to believe they are chickens too and often break into the chicken run just to hang out with his "peeps".
  • Deer fence makes a wonderful surround to my free range birds. Can't see it so the neighbors don't mind, but the chickens don't roam the neighborhood looking for grass that is greener. My orange mesh snow fence did the job too, but was a bit unsightly to the new subdivision that went in across the street from me. My lucky poultry get to hang out under a stand of cottonwood trees that also prevents the resident hawks and owls from swooping down to grab lunch.
  • Everyone should incubate at least one batch of baby chicks. Fascinating! And when every single egg hatched I was congratulating myself on having such a virile roo.
  • After hatching out my own chicks I starting eyeing my hens and wishing one of them would "go broody". I purchased some "broody prone" chicks hoping that in the future I could relinquish the 3x a day egg turning duty to an expert. It will also be nice to have a non-fire-hazard way to keep the chicklings warm after they break free of the shell.
  • Home grown eggs taste a lot better than store bought. Part of that is the satisfaction of knowing you can take care of yourself a little bit better.

1 comment:

Abby said...

You are the chicken queen! When Judy was here she was saying she would kind of like to have chickens but didn't have the first clue how to do it. I got to pass on a lot of your wisdom!