It is that time of year! The daffodils are up, the redbuds are flowering, my winter garden is bolting and of course: IT’S BABY CHICK TIME!!! On April 2 we received 19 little angels.
* PEEP * * PEEP * * PEEP *
(Our first ‘peep’ into the box of fluffy adorableness)
I always forget how fast they grow. When they arrived Monday they were tiny little puff-balls. By Wednesday they had all of their primary and secondary wing feathers. Friday they are working on tail feathers! Oh… and we are working on flying now, so get ready.
And let’s not get caught up in all the cuteness and forget about everyone else! Colonel Woodford has had his hands full with the ladies. All sixteen of them. Sooooo many ladies, so few hours in the day. Egg production is pretty dang close to maximum production. We are collecting somewhere around 11 eggs/ day. Not bad. Being realists, we know a few of the girls don’t lay or lay very erratically. When the spirit moves them. There some that we just can’t cull.
So let’s stop for a moment and take a headcount.
19 chicks + 17 adults = 36 chickens
Some may think that is a lot of chickens. And some might say that is TOO many chickens. And I could not agree more.
So there are a lot of things you need to know about chickens. I’m just gonna drop a couple nuggets on you for now.
1) Araucanas/ Americanas (the blue egg layers) really don’t like the ‘boundaries’ that theegg box presents. There are some that think they are not particular where they lay their eggs. However, I go with the other camp. The ones that think they are the most secretive, finding the tiniest, littlest, darkest, dankest, most out of the way, “oh… they’re never gonna find them here” place to lay.
2) There is nothing meaner than a broody hen.
Well… luckily the meanest f the crew, the hateful spinster Queen Mary decided to go broody last week. She’d sit on anything – anywhere. We’d drag out of her daily hidey-hole and put her up at night. Next day she’d find another spot. That is just what broody hens do. Guys you know, ‘chicks’ and their hormones… So you can imagine our surprise when the perfect storm came together last weekend and Mary found a clutch of 7 blue eggs to sit on. Funny thing – the day after we found Mary and her 7 blue eggs, mysteriously there were no blue eggs in the laying boxes. So I risk life and limb, go into the dark, dank, corner of the barn (also the same corner that I wrestled THE snake), gently lift the Queen and find that while she was taking a little break, some of the girls snuck in and laid another 2 eggs in her clutch. So she is now sitting on NINE eggs. Let us revisit our math.
19 chicks (hatched) + 17 adults + 9 “Mary clutch” = 45 chickens
So instead of gathering around the water cooler Monday mornings and hearing all about Susan’s crazy aunt with like 50 cats – you know, the one that was just on Hoarders – you can talk about US. And ALL of our chickens. At least we can eat chicken. Well, I guess there are some cultures where they do eat cats and dogs. Probably tastes like chicken. So we have come full circle – that there is NO difference between us and Susan’a crazy aunt… great.
Let’s end on some cuteness!