July 13, 2014

On the Chicken Front

It's been just about two years since we began raising chickens.  There have been so many good things about this endeavor.  The least not being a steady supply of wonderful eggs at our disposal.  The last few months have been busy times around the chicken coop. 
  So these are more than just a source of food and income for the boys.  The hens have definitely become their pets.  They know each one by name and the girls know them.  The kids have them trained to come when they get near the coop with scraps.  When they get out of their yard we call in Sam, the chicken wrangler.  He has taught the hens to sit and wait for him to pick them up when they see him approaching.   
In June one of our hens fell ill.  The kids were devastated when they knew Eddie wasn't going to make it.  They brought her up from the coop and stayed with her all day and into the evening.  She had to be isolated from the other hens and they didn't want her to die alone. 
 So Eddie died and the kids buried her near the new coop they are building so she will have a nice view and the company of the rest of the flock.
 The death of this chicken had an odd impact on Carmella.  She has always loved to stand outside the yard and watch them but was always afraid to go into the coop.  As soon as we lost Eddie Carmella wanted to be taking care of the chickens all the time.  Before breakfast she asks to take the vegetable scraps out to the chickens.
 And she will beg the boys to pick a chicken up for her to pet.
 And she loves to collect and count the eggs
And if you are visiting she will surely take you on a tour of the coop.  Rest assured you will not leave without a dozen eggs to take home for breakfast.
Sometimes she asks if we can just watch the chickens for a while.

 So aside from the wonderful eggs, I like chicken farming for the good lessons it teaches.  It's good for my boys.  Good hard honest work ties brother heart strings.

And over the last few months under the direction of their Pa they have built a new chicken coop.  These skills will serve them well the rest of their lives.

But chickens aren't all work and no play.  The kids couldn't resist playing a little joke on Samuel.  He has the AM chicken duty.  That means getting up at 6:00 to let them out, feed and water them.  Only Samuel isn't  so keen on rising early.  Every morning I wake him up by telling him the chickens are calling for him.  For his birthday the kids found an alarm clock that crows like a rooster.  They left it in the coop for him to find when he went out in the morning.  Now the rest of us often wake up to a crowing rooster.  But Sam still sleeps in.

 The boys are learning hard work pays off.  They began selling their eggs in May.  They have so many faithful customers now our chickens can't keep up with sales.  It's been several weeks now since this Mama has had an egg to eat.  The boys do all the work so they get to divide the money and they are enjoying watching their hard work turn into profits. 

We had a chicken who was brooding for a few weeks.  Their attempts to break her of the habit failed.  Finally at the beginning of July our neighbor brought the boys 15 fertile eggs to slip under the girl.  One morning last week Sam went to the hen house and heard the peep of chicks. 
 Ten adorable little girls to be exact.

In addition to hard work and the practical aspects of raising chickens I hope our boys have learned a few good Biblical principals in this endeavor.  Our chickens and hen house were given to us by a generous neighbor who decided he was finished with farming.   The boys decided they wanted to give their eggs away since God had provided the chickens for them.  They have faithfully given eggs to anyone who came to our home and excitedly sought out people at church and in the community to pass eggs on to.  We have always had more eggs than we knew what to do with.  We told them as long as they shared what God gave to them He would always provide.  In response a friend gave them a bunch more hens last year.  They continued to give eggs away and we ate them everyday as well.  Then God started bringing them customers.  As I said, we can't keep up with the number of people who want to buy eggs now.  Still when anyone comes to our house the boys scrape together a dozen eggs if they have any.  Just as we started to run out of eggs what did God do?  He provided us with 10 more chicks.

Pets... food... lessons... this chicken business is good all around. 

1 comment :

  1. Kat,

    It's been awhile since I stopped by and look at you! A bona-fide chicken farming family now! I hope one day we will move to make this a reality for us, but no chickens where we live. Not sure they'd take to high desert temperatures as well. Wish you lived closer, because you'd have a customer for life from us!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat