...everywhere a chick chick. Our neighbors don't have a farm, but there's one on three sides of them, just as there's one on two sides of us. They have a big white barn and a little gray chicken coop, with 37 chickens and two roosters.
Last year, some of their brood paid us a visit and I was so enamored with them that for months I talked about wanting some of our own. It would be great to have fresh eggs and the roosters were downright handsome. Romie vetoed the idea and my aunt convinced me that I really didn't want them pecking in my garden. She assured me they would.
Okay then. We'll settle for admiring the neighbors' and we'll buy our eggs from them. It's worked out rather well actually and we laugh about how we eat green eggs and ham.
Last week, they asked us if we would take care of the chickens while they took a trip to Florida for Christmas. Sure we would! They showed us what to do and it didn't seem too difficult. They left on Saturday morning, just as we were recovering from an ice storm. And then...the bottom dropped out of the thermometer and we had below zero temperatures, with 35-40 mph winds, creating biting wintery conditions. Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, we lost power.
Now that makes for quite a different scenario, but those chickens are tough! Almost tougher than we are, when it comes to surviving the elements. At five below zero, they clucked around like nothing had happened, even running in and out of their coop through the little opening.
All we had to do was water and feed them and gather the eggs. I laid claim to the gathering eggs part right away and Romie has been taking care of the watering and feeding. The water trough has a heating element in it to keep the water from freezing, but when the power goes out, of course it freezes. During our outage, they were without water some of the time, but it didn't affect their laying.
They average about 15 eggs a day. We gather them around 4:00 in the afternoon, because they're generally done laying for the day by then. One of the hens likes to sit on the eggs all the time, even if they aren't hers, so I have to reach in under her to get them. She doesn't seem to mind.
So far, it doesn't seem like a big deal, this having chickens bit. Of course, we haven't been asked to clean the coop out yet either.