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In which there were 8, then 12, and now 11

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Chickens! Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

They aren’t as hard to keep as we thought.

They don’t need lots of attention during the day…so we can leave once they are let out in the morning and let back in at night-just as the sun is going down. We (El Guapo) also made them a roost and we got some straw to put down as bedding (or litter as it’s called in the business). We also made them a feeder, picked up a water-er from a garage sale and give them scraps from our food extras. However we do have to find someone to help us if we are gone overnight. That’s a pain. Also-I am employing the Deep Litter Method in keeping the coop tidy (this last word is used loosely when it comes to chickens). It seems to work for us quite nicely.

Then there were eight.

With this taken care of they are basically on auto-pilot. We buy and provide the food, defrost the water as needed and provide larger bodies of water for the ducks to splash around in. We had (foreshadowing) three ducks, one rooster (he’s nice) and four hens. Two of the hens had the potential to lay (the other two we had before we got the newest two and they weren’t laying diddly squat). So, after realizing we were feeding pet chickens we looked at each other and decided something needed to change. I wanted to donate the two hens and the two ducks (the third duck has laying potential as she was just born 10 weeks or so ago). There’s actually people who have rescue shelters for chickens : ) El Guapo, well, he wanted to eat them (or sell them on craigslist.) Turns out no one wants non-laying hens either!

Then there were 12.

Meanwhile El Guapo who runs at a much higher octane than I do (and by octane I mean this man is always doing something: Building, fixing, crafting, planning, searching for great deals. I, on the other hand, just spent several weeks searching for the perfect chair to put in our living room so that I can sit in front of the fire while enjoying the views of Pikes Peak with my book in hand. Let’s review:  I sit. or do whatever I want to while sitting. El Guapo does. lots of doing…but I digress…) El Guapo found 9 week old pullets for sale (when they are thought to be female they are called pullets). We picked up four yesterday. They are cute and fluffy and loud chirpy little things. They won’t lay until late spring, I think. That’s 12 foul.

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Now there are eleven.

Chicken. It’s what’s for dinner. Well, dinner in a few days-the images are still a little too vivid in all of our minds to have her tonight or the next. She was a good hen. She just didn’t pull her own weight. It’s called culling in the industry. Are you so excited to be learning all of these new vocabulary words? Me, too! There might be ten soon. We’ll see, but why feed chickens that just poop and eat?

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Let’s review our vocabulary words for the week:

Litter: The stuff you put on the floor of the coop. In our case it is straw.

Pullet: A female chicken (aka hen) that is less than a year old.

Culling: What happens when you don’t pull your weight around here (in this case not pulling your weight means not dropping an egg in 3 months). Maybe this will also help the girls get their chores done more efficiently. Eggs, helping with the dishes, you know…kinda the same  ; )

And the adventure continues!

Have a great week!

La Gringa

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6 thoughts on “In which there were 8, then 12, and now 11

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well…sometimes I’m speechless after your posts and this is one of those times! What a learning curve with the farm animals! 🙂 SO impressed with your abilities to tackle whatever comes! We had chickens in California, but we also had “help” who lived on the property and took care of said chickens. Certainly didn’t know any of those terms! We really could make a reality show out of your day-to-day… love you all…

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  2. Anne Nam says:

    Lori,
    You crack me up. I love your descriptions of farm life and I’m thinking my kids need to do an overnight with you your next culling to keep them in line. Enjoy your week.
    Anne

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh, the memories of our time on the farm in Denver!!!!! Grandma Weaver would wring the chickens necks while I stood beside her, then she would put it in a barrel and put the lid on until it stooped flapping! ~~ sometimes it would get away from her and run around the pen (so goes the saying, “Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off!” Never could eat any of the chicken;s dressed out that day, one from the freezer was okay for dinner, fried!!! She would get chicks every year and raise them for their meat. Sure that some were saved for eggs as well!
    Grandpa Persing always used an ax on our chickens in El Paso, we had pullets, guess he did some culling from time to time!!!

    Love hearing your stories and learning from your experiences! Now for rabbits! Grandpa Persing raised rabbits when we lived in Denver during WWII ~~ that was our meat. They never let Uncle Jimmy and I see him kill them, but they were never pets!

    Love you!
    Aunt Karen

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  4. Shawn OReilly says:

    Hi guys….or should I say guy and girls! Enjoyed your update. Lots to learn in starting up a new business. I’m sure you know that it is pretty typical for hens to “cut” production this time of the year. If they had a chair and a fireplace to cozy up to I’m sure they would 🙂 Girls, you all look so cute out on the farm 🙂 Big hugs to everyone!!!! Kit and Shawn

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    • Hi Kit and Shawn!
      Thanks for the advice-and yes, we had noped that it was just the shorter days, molting, etc. with the two Rhode Island Reds we have-but our friend that sold them to us finally confessed/decided that they were too old. Who knew you only have about 1-1/2 years for a chicken to lay!? We do…now! Looking forward to the day you come by the farm in your RV! : )

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