So, so much has happened lately.
The Saga of the Chickens:
As Eric mentioned the Rhode Island Reds (a.k.a. “the Gingers”) have been laying up a storm! The Barred Rocks (a.k.a. “the Rockettes”) are getting close. Since my dad has moved in, one of his daily jobs is to go out and collect eggs. He loves it!
That is good news. The bad news is that the hawks are really taking their toll on the flock. In addition to Sweet Cheeks – which we now have decided was a hawk – we lost Ms. Dominique and Oprah. Life on the farm is tough, I am learning that and am reminded daily. We lost Ms. D a few weeks back, but Oprah was just last weekend. Eric rounded the corner just to see the hawk take her head and took off.
What to do??? Here I am standing in the driveway holding a dead chicken by the feet. Well, I decided since she had only been dead minutes and the hard part (“dispatching her head”) was already done, I’d try my hand at dressing my first chicken. I went to it the old fashioned way, (no scalder, no plucker) just lots of hard work and plucking with feathers stuck to every possible surface. Well, I got about 90% of the way through and called it done. (I have a whole new respect for chicken wings and the work that must go into getting those little buggers cleaned)! Next was to clean the inside, no problems there. At long last I held up my nearly dressed bird and thought, there is no way that this bird is going to waste. I showed Eric and we agreed that chicken was on Sunday’s supper menu. She dressed beautifully, with a think layer of fat, not like those weak things in the grocery stores. We roasted it up and after a heartfelt blessing, giving thanks for her service and sacrifice, dug in. I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit tough but the flavor was out of this world. This girl was 100% free range and over a year old (versus the commercial confinement birds that are processed at 6 weeks) so I can’t really fault her for that. We can celebrate the fact that she gave us dozens of delicious eggs and in turn, we gave her the best possible life we could. Most birds never get to roam wherever they want, scratch around all day, take dirt baths and do as they please. But dang, life on the farm IS tough.
The babies we hatched in late November are growing up so fast! We ended up with four pullets (girls) and four cockerels (boys). The winter has been so mild, we moved them outside mid-January and they have been out ever since. Tonight was a big night for the girls. They got moved into the big house. They are a bit on the small size but the chicken pen and run we have now is just too small. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
All this drama and we are crazy enough to do peeps all over again! I have ordered four of each: Speckled Sussex (girls), Light Brahama, Silver-Laced Wyandottes and Dorkings (straight run-meaning they are not sexed, you get what you get). I also added one of each: Columbian Wyandotte, a Black-faced Spanish, a Silver Spangled Hamburg and a Gold Laced Wyandotte (all girls). I know it seems like a lot and we already have a lot, but this is going to be our first attempt at meat birds. The hens will go into the egg production side, the roosters will end up in the freezer. Or at least that is the plan. They arrive this week so get ready for Chick Cam!