Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here a Chick, There a Chick...

...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.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Just think of having your own manure too. I have always wanted to own chickens. My DB doesn't want us to have them. We shouldn't have them here in town but I think I would like them. It is nice that you can have a trial run with them and enjoy the fruits of their labor too.

Kathy said...

Kylee, I'll tell you, we have chickens and they fly over the fence when they get bored and they do scratch in my flower garden. Then there was the time a hen set on a whole clutch of eggs inside the filipendula, and I didn't even know it until they hatched!

Dave said...

You can't beat fresh eggs! I hope everyone at Our Little Acre has a Merry Christmas!

(Let me know if you still want a tulip poplar. I sent an email but I've had some email troubles lately and it may not have gotten through.)

Lythrum said...

I love chickens too, there is something so comforting about hearing them clucking around. You're lucky to live so close to where you can get fresh eggs. I would like to also but have to make do with those from the grocery store. Merry Christmas to you and your family. :)

Connie said...

Kylee, Take my word for it....you have the best set up...being able to get fresh eggs from you neighbor without having to actually own the chickens, ha. I know from experience that they can destroy a garden in no time at all. We have been toying with the idea of having them again, but this fact is what keeps me from trying again. However, we love good eggs, and tough economic times just may call for drastic measures. :-)

Ewa said...

Merry Christmas! Wesolych Swiat!

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I'm sure the neighbors would share the manure. LOL.

Kathy ~ I read your story and that's so funny. Here, the neighbor's [mean] cat hides in our garden and I don't know he's there. Then he attacks me.
I didn't think about the chickens flying over the fence!

Dave ~ Hi Dave! Yes! I absolutely DO want the tulip poplar! Thank you! I'll e-mail you later about it. :-)
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas as well!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Those are good looking chickens and eggs. I enjoyed reading about them. You are great neighbors to take care of them so well.


MyMaracas said...

It looks like you're having fun! I'm toying with the idea of chickens too. This place came with a chicken coop, even. I wonder what I'd do, though, without dedicated neighbors like you to help out when we're away.

Brenda Pruitt said...

I feed my two Yorkies scrambled eggs most evenings these days, as they love them so. I sure need me some chickens so I wouldn't run out!

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