Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Great Chicken Count

It happens every year.

That moment that comes that the chickens need to be in their summer home.

Now -- I love my chickens.  And I try to be a good mother to them.  But there are some things I don't like about them.

They dig up my flower gardens.

Totally.

So completely that there is nothing left!

And if you want to pick flowers at Miss Eff's ..... there has to be flowers!

One year, I have finished planting a 5'x 15' bed.  It was planted ..... it was freshly mulched.  The decorative pots were planted and in place.  Every thing was oh so Martha!

The chickens had be carefully eying the position and variety of every plant in that bed.  They noticed the smell of that pretty cypress mulch.  And they just knew that the impatiens that were planted in the planter/hog waterer/ water heater  (yea .... slightly upcycled!) were just their favorite.

I checked the nesting boxes for eggs after I finished planting ..... and went into the house for some lunch.

Thirty minutes later .... I was back .... to find that I hadn't gotten the gate to the coop completely latched and they had gone to lunch also.

On my newly planted bed.

:(

Nothing was left!!!

It was like a scene from Chicken Run!

But no Mel Gibson.

:(

From October to April, the chickens get free range of the farm.  They can roost on the seat of the garden tractor.  They can hide eggs in the barn.  They can steal cat food.  And they can poop on my porch.

But come planting season .... it is all over.  They are confined to the run.




Our run is about 20' wide and 35' long.  Bigger than my house.  But it only has 4' tall fences.  And chickens always know that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Because they haven't dug it up yet!!!!

So it is time to clip some wings.

Just like a hair cut for us .... clipping the wings is a spring time ritual here.

A little clip on the tips of their flight wings and they won't find my petunias perfect for poaching!

It's during these beauty treatments that I check the individual hen health and look at her age ..... and count the girls.

I have had a few of the older girls and some extra roosters butchered in the past.  But that has happened once in 14 years of raising chickens.  So most live out their lives at Miss Eff's retirement home for menopausal  hens!

Today's count .... 57 hens ... one Easter Egger rooster and a Silkie roo and hen that are worthless but extremely cute.

Now I can plant some flowers.

Wait. .... that's not very many girls............

Good thing that 25 chicks are coming in 10 days!



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