Back Yard Chickens

Rhod Island Red Hens

Chickens Behaiving Badly

I’ve had chickens in my back yard for a little over a year now.  I started with a flock of nine birds, two hens and seven roosters that I purchased from a vegetarian acquaintance as a favor.  We converted an old dog pen to a coop while we build a new coop.  Only two of those birds we still have. One hen died of natural causes, the other, ” Hina” is our friendliest hen. The other survivor is Lucky our eldest and meanest rooster. Both are Speckled Sussexes.  The other six roosters became dinner. No, we are not vegetarians, and yes we butchered the roosters our selves which is not as hard as it looks. It just takes some practice.

I have no qualms about eating roosters because they are just plane mean and abusive to the hens if you have too many of them. One rooster is happy with about 10 hens,  and if you have fewer than that, the hens can get over bread and harassed, so for the sake of our hens, we eat our extra roosters. Also know that if you order hatching eggs, you can’t pick out what sex you want, you get what you get.

Our next batch of chickens were a gift of 24 leghorn eggs, which we hatched indoors in November of 2008. Thirteen hatched, twelve survived, and only four were hens! Darn the bad luck!  So we indeed ate the leghorn roosters, which being an egg laying breed are quite scrawny.  Of the four leghorn hens, we still have three, as one was eaten by something this past summer. (All we found was a pile of white feathers.)  They have yellow legs and lay large white eggs, and quite a few double yolkers.

In about May of 2009, we purchased ten more birds from a local breeder.  One turned out to be a rooster, we now call him “Little Roo”, and he’s a Rhode Island Red. We decided to keep him, thus far, for good breeding. The other nine hens are six Rhode Island Reds, and two Plymouth Rocks. I named the Plymouth Rocks  “May” and “Flower” out of sentiment. I happen to be related to one the original Mayflower passengers. They are of laying age now, and because we put lights on in the coop, they are beginning to lay small brown eggs, which I hope will increase in size.

Our current flock is 10 brown egg layers, and three white egg layers,  and two roosters, totaling 15 chickens. Our curent egg count is typicaly three white eggs, and four brown eggs every day.  I love to barter with eggs, and offten find ways to trade eggs for services, like babysiting, or for home canned goods. When we travel, it’s easy to find a friend who will chicken sit for us in exchange for the eggs.

Future plans include building a “Chicken Tractor”, which is a mobile chicken pen for broilers (for meat).  As the birds eat the grass and bugs, depositing their fertilzer, every day you drag the pen to a new spot of fresh grass, ensuring cleanlyness and a fresh supply of bugs.

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