10.16.2007

Oliver's Army

Seven chicks: $21.95

120 feet of one-inch hex poultry netting: $69.95

Six 8-foot 4x4's for the chicken run: $96.95

Two bags of quik-crete: $19.95

New paint for the chickenshit stained front porch: $32.95


Watching your kids find the first egg: Priceless

Chickens eat table scraps. They make eggs. And they're good listeners, for the most part.

We picked up seven chicks last spring and brought them back to the Waitsfield Ski-Barn. Six of them turned out to be hens, while the seventh (named "Olivia" by the kids) eventually came out of the coop as an Oliver.

They free-ranged for most of the summer, splitting time as traffic slowing devices and child entertainment. But after they found the neighbor's pool deck, they were returned to the Yard.

We found the first eggs this weekend. Three of them, tiny and brown. And then we ate them.

I'm hardly an off-the-grid back-to-the-earth guy like some that I know. And I can't really point fingers at other lifestyles when I know that my own has plenty of room for improvement.

But I do enjoy seeing my family enjoy a plate of food that came from somewhere that I know.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:51 PM

    chicken man ....no credit for the borrowed hutch......you had the thing all summer....i figure I got some eggs coming my way.....that would mak'em pricless.

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  2. My mentor told me that a hen's comb turns snow white at the very moment the egg is passing through her cervix. Apparently, with the strain of pushing for delivery, all the blood rushes from the hen's very top to her very bottom. I watched my hens for a couple of days during their traditional laying time, but never saw a white comb, then wondered whether I had blinked or was looking at the wrong hen. So the next day when she hopped into the nesting box, I approached Mandy, a particularly mellow R.I. red, and slipped my hand under her as she crouched in the birthing position. I stared unblinking into her comb, and waited. The comb stayed red, but it was fun to have that moist egg drop directly into my hand, the freshest egg I've ever held. For several days I repeated this exercise, just because I could. Trusting hen, now long gone!

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