Friday, May 30, 2014

Why did the chicken cross the road???

Why DID the chicken cross the road?  I do not have the answer to this, but for whatever reason it decided to cross the road was probably hilarious!!  When we finally moved out of tract housing and into our home that sits on a little over an acre in a horse property neighborhood the economy was struggling!  Now that we had an acre we were going to try and live off the land we had acquired and put it to good use.  Frugal living if you will.  I researched edible plants and trees.  I planted a small garden, some fruit trees, edible cactus, and started collecting mesquite pods to make my own flour for bread.  We decided we would purchase a few chickens for free eggs, and my life as never been the same!!

Now when I said FREE eggs, we would come to find that is not quite accurate!  If you are in the market for chickens to provide you anything but entertainment for free you are mistaken!  It is actually probably cheaper to buy a dozen eggs at your local grocer than it is to own your own chickens!  You see once you buy your chicks, the lumber and materials for your coop, the monthly egg maker and scratch feed, you are already out a good amount of cash!  Chickens during their peak laying time, lay about one egg a day.  During the winter months our chickens quit laying all together.  Chickens need at least eight hours of daylight for their egg production.  So this means you feed them all year long and get eggs only half that time.  Chickens are also victims of many predators both on the ground and in the sky!  Often times their lack of a bigger brain also affects their lifespan!

When we first got our chicks, we were so excited!  We had them in a little box inside our entry way, with a little heat lamp, and enjoyed picking them up and petting their fuzzy little bodies.  The next morning the smell was horrendous so they moved to our garage.  we cleaned out their box, food, and water daily to no avail!  The stink was making its way through the walls in seemed, so their now bigger box moved out to our shed!  The cute little fuzzy chicks grew so fast and were ready to move outdoors as soon as their down feathers were replaced with exterior feathers.  We built them a chicken coop, with laying boxes, and covered the whole pen with wire to ensure no flying predators could swoop down and get them.  Then the waiting game began!  We checked daily for any eggs.  I remember the excitement we all felt when we found our first egg!!  as the days went on we began finding more and more eggs from our seven chicks we had purchased.  To our surprise we received eggs in every color possible!
                                                                                                                                                            We started getting more eggs than we could possibly eat so we started giving them away!  As the chicken grew they started finding ways to hop out of their coop.  We would see them in the yard and we would run out there and chase them back in!  It soon became the talk of the town to the local hawks that our yard was full of chickens and we unfortunately lost a few due to being swooped up into the sky by another bird...Crazy!!  Over the years we have had to replace several of our chickens due to predators, age, heat, etc.  We have learned we don't keep replacing them because we want free eggs it's because Chickens have got to be one of the most entertaining pets you can own!  Their walk, their talk, and their overall personality is an absolute joy to watch!  Our chickens now are free range, they go in their coop at night to sleep or during the day to lay their eggs.  They are pretty good at hiding in cool places when they see a hawk fly over and I do believe they think they are one of the dogs!  Our chickens have been known to play fetch with the dogs! Although I don't believe they know what the heck is going on, they take off running with the dogs when you throw the ball then come back and wait for you to throw it again.  They lay on the porch with the dogs, drink the dog water, and food, and dig holes next to the dogs to cool down in the summer!  This video although maybe short and hard to see was one of our chickens playing fetch with our dogs :)
I just want to warn you if you are in the market for some cheap eggs, wait for them to go on sale in your local grocer!  If you want to add to your pet family, a pet that is truly enjoyable to watch and have around, go buy yourself some chicks!!  I guarantee a giggle or two!
Now what came first, the chicken or the egg??  In our case the chicken, a whole lot of preparation, money, anticipation, waiting, and then the egg :)  Have a wonderful day!!

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