chicken suitcase

Pack up the Chickens, Mamma,    it’s moving day!

In an hour or so, it’s going to be really exciting around here! We’re inheriting 12 chickens from our friend Lily, who purchased a house recently and isn’t allowed to have chickens in her back yard (there isn’t an HOA rule or anything, but the neighbors complained). So, tonight we’re going to combine most of the chickens, along with the ducks and Roman into the Biggies’ side tonight.  We’re also going to reconfigure the electric poultry net to have three different  semi attached areas. We’re going to keep Lily’s teenagers in their own area for at least a week, and keep the Rangers were they are, until processing day next Saturday. After the Rangers are gone, we’ll give the newbies a larger space that they can roam around. 

Our biggest trepidation in doing this is regarding Big Buff (he’s the Rooster). He re-injured his leg, after he was almost completely healed from the last time. We’ve given him some days to heal, and now we’re going to check him out again tonight and see if it’s simply been dislocated again. We’re thinking about putting him in the largest kennel so he stays out of the fray and mostly immobile, until he’s better.  We don’t want to isolate him because we’ve not had good success rehabilitating roosters away from their flock. We were told that they can easily lose interest in healing when they are isolated that much, and we don’t want to take away his raison d’être altogether. We really tend to agonize over these decisions a great deal. I always hear my mom scoffing in my head – “It’s just a chicken”, or “that’s life on the farm.” However, we truly want to give our animals all they could need for the life that they have with us: good eggs come from happy chickens and a happy flock = happy chickens.

tows-chicken-300x205Speaking of happy… I told Sue the other day that I’ll be glad when the Rangers are gone. It’s not that I’m looking forward to the processing of them, it’s just that, they’re kind of sad little (large) things. They have been bred, over the years to bulk up quickly for a fast turn around from chick to meat. We knew that going in, but we didn’t really understand what that meant. The have a drive to eat and not much else. They grow so quickly they dwarf the others. Here’s a graphic from 2008, but it shows the difference I’m talking about. Our Gray Rangers have had the opportunity to get out and run around with the others, to each bugs and green grass – and they will do that to a small extent, but they much prefer to sit by one of the feeders and simply eat all day. The most exercise they get is when we herd them in at night. And they are not the brightest bulbs on the shelves either; they would stay outside, unprotected, all night if we didn’t actually physically push them to go inside. Roman helps us get everyone in at night, but those Rangers are just stupid about it. They also will rarely move to get out of your way, they just sit and expect that you won’t hurt them. Of course we don’t, but geesh. Their single-mindedness towards eating makes me sad, it’s like they aren’t real chickens anymore. All that “chicken-ness” has been bred out of them and replaced with an insatiable desire to grow as big as they can, as quickly as they can.  Something about that seems wrong to me. I’m not sure we’ll get this breed again. At first we were thinking we’d keep all the hens and one rooster so that we can have a sustainable flock, but I’m not sure we’re still thinking in that direction. We’ll just have to see. We’ll keep you posted as everything unfolds. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: If it’s going to be hot a muggy it should just go ahead and rain! That’s my opinion anyway. Here we are at 6:11 pm and it’s still 91°.  The low was 65° last night and is predicted to be  67° tonight. This will be the hottest week this year, so far.  Maybe it’ll give up some rain for us, but what I see in the distance is virga.

Egg Report: Yesterday and today we had 5 eggs. They’re slowing down because of the heat, I think. We had eight on Saturday and it was quite a bit cooler that day. Imen is still trying to be broody, but I think she’s getting over it day by day.  Saw the drake trying to get amorous with the ladies in the pool today – that might mean we’re close to getting some Duck eggs soon! They aren’t quite 4 months yet, but very soon, so who knows.