Life gets in the way, it seems, and as difficult as it has been for me to get back to the blog and share some stories, it seems that a few of the chickens have also been too busy to get to the things they need to get to. Namely, laying eggs.
I’ll get back to some of the highlights down the road, presumably when I have more strength because I have eaten more eggs and thus boosted my protein intake. But for now, I decided to just jump back in, mid-step.
Yesterday, after many appeals and stays of execution, the Palace de Poulet out in my backyard has officially turned into Chicken Death Row for two of the chickens. The problem: while Kung Pao dutifully lays an egg each morning, Nugget and Pot Pie have stopped, completely.
It should be noted here that my 1st generation Chinese friend Laura felt she needed to point out that the “Chinese” chicken is still laying. She was relieved to hear that Kung Pao will not turn into Chinese chicken salad any time soon.
The main problem I have is as follows:
1) chickens are social so I can’t just have one or she will end up depressed (and likely stop laying).
2) the “ready to lay” chickens are debeaked (cruel, I don’t care what anyone says) and also expensive to ship, so I really don’t want to buy two of those from the hatchery.
3) the day old chicks I can get are super cool breed-specific hens, but if I just buy chicks, I am going to have to wait months before I get more than one measley egg a day.
I sat on the problem for a bit, canning chili, chicken broth, pickled carrots, peppornata, pickled Santa Fe grande chilies, and peaches as my means of meditation while I sorted through my options.
So, thankfully, the pantry is full if the egg carton is empty.
Thie plan is this: I cajoled a farmer into bringing me two live chickens to the next farmer’s market, so I could have three layers through the winter. Because chickens slow down production over the winter, I will likely end up with 1 or 2 eggs a day, maybe at most, but at least I’ll have that.
I’ll be ordering the fancy chicks through the mail, so I’ll have day old chicks arriving somewheres around mid-October. (Kids will love that!) As soon as the chicks can be incorporated into the adult population, I’ll be culling the lazy layers from the herd.
Culling is also known as harvesting. In fact, it is killing. But I have yet to really wrap my head around that yet.
So, I guess if you like jam, you should definitely start hanging around my house because I am quite sure I am going to be canning as I sort through this problem.
*Highlights include: Chicken on a Hot Plastic Roof, where the chickens free range in the yard, and points south, for one day; Voodoo Chicken, regarding the lack of emotional turmoil I go thru in deciding the chickens will not be getting health care at Oprah’s vet and These Chickens are Grounded, a special story when I learn to clip my chiekens wings so they can’t fly the coop.