Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

The Chicken and the Egg.

Posted on | December 11, 2011 | 8 Comments

It’s that time of year.  This is what the nest boxes look like:

Empty.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.

Right in time for holiday baking and there are no eggs.  I understand that the decreasing daylight, lower temperatures, and the molting process mean the hens aren’t up for lots of laying.  I don’t take it personally.  Really.  If the hens happen to hear me muttering under my breath as I check the nest boxes, I’m just talking things out to myself.  You know, going over the repairs that need to be made to the barn, figuring out if the tax refund will be enough to cover the bank overdrafts for this year, wondering if I should buy the usual French Vanilla creamer or experiment with the Warm Sugar Cookie with Cinnamon flavor, deciding which hens are old enough to go into the crockpot…stuff like that.

But I do stop buying expensive layer pellets.  It’s strictly a few handfuls of scratch from now until the winter solstice.  Mmmmm, corn.  Their favorite.

Plus any scraps from the dinner table or leftovers that we just haven’t gotten around to eating.  Mmmmm, sweet potatoes still hanging around from Thanksgiving, PBJ crusts from lunchboxes, and broccoli with cheese that just can’t be reheated one more time.  Their favorite.

Believe me, chickens were dumpster divers long before it became the green thing to do.

On occasion they get warm milk that can’t be used because somebody (we won’t name names will we, Brianna?) put a dirty hoof in it on the milk stand.  Mmmmm, milk.  Their favorite.

Not to mention, the excellent and tasty protein they get from the carcasses remaining after I make some stock.  Mmmmm, chicken.  Their favorite.

Bet you city people didn’t know that chickens love chicken.  Bet you’re thinking you could have lived withOUT knowing that.

On a really desperate day, they can even FORAGE.  It’s a dirty word for the girls, I know.  But they are free range hens.  And the ground isn’t even close to frozen (we haven’t had a single night under 29 degrees and only a few of those) so I know there’s lots of bugs and grubs right under the leaf debris.

Even the goats are still finding acorns scattered throughout the woods.  Well, the goats find acorns when they aren’t busy napping in the sun, using their fat tummies as built-in pillows.  Jeez. I really think I have a problem with portion control when it comes to feeding the goats.  Now that I think about it portion control is not my strong suit in general.  I mean, how can 3 Oreos be one serving size? Really? 3???!!

And what, may you ask, did I get in return for this half-hearted, careless, feeding program?

Dirty looks?  Ankle attacks?  Loitering on the deck rails?


Yesterday I got this:

Eggs.  A bunch of eggs.

Which is proof that benign neglect is the way to go.  A fact that I’ve been trying to convince my kids of for years.  After all, helicoptering is for swift water rescue and traffic reports, not for parenting.  And certainly not for chicken raising.  Dontcha’ think?


8 Responses to “The Chicken and the Egg.”

  1. Terry
    December 11th, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

    I think they read my blog, saw your comment about putting them in the stockpot, and got to work. See, reading blogs (it’s NOT procrastination) pays!

  2. Sherry Herry
    December 12th, 2011 @ 2:15 am

    Dear Stevie,
    I love reading your blog. Thanks for keeping me entertained. It sounds like you and I have similar views on parenting and raising animals.
    Please keep the post coming.

    Thank you,
    Sherry Herry

  3. Jennifer
    December 12th, 2011 @ 3:51 am

    This was the title that HAD to eventually happen… but the blog totally lived up to it!

  4. Jill
    December 12th, 2011 @ 7:30 am

    Again and always entertaining and educational; I did not know that chickens love chicken. I could have lived a long and happy life without knowing that. LOL. Helicoptering is exhausting; you have enough to do! Happy baking!

  5. Peggy Lineberry
    December 12th, 2011 @ 7:46 am

    Had to laugh as I had just told the hens yesterday they better start laying some eggs or there was going to be a nice big pot with their name on it. Only 3 oreos???? Who made up that rule? LOL

  6. Kelsie
    December 12th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    You should talk to my not so “Little Boy Boots” about portion control…How can a 7 month old wether look like he is 8 month pregnant with quads??

    Yer 3 oreos is a ridiculous rule…why bother starting the packet if you can’t finish.

    Glad you got some eggs at last.

    Blessings Kelsie

  7. Pat
    December 16th, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    My daughter has chickens too. They strung rope lights (those white lights they wrap around palm trees) at the top of their chicken coop and set up a timer for the lights to come on from sunset to sunrise and now their chickens are once again laying eggs.

  8. Lisa D
    December 19th, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’m still a city girl 🙁

    PS – 3 oreos is only for the original kind; if it’s double-stuff, the serving size is 2! Why bother?

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