It takes a Village

We have begun raising our next generation of chickens.  We are doing it remotely this time (the “Village” reference in the title)(No charge).  At this writing, our neighbors are raising six – of which two will come over to our coop when they’ve fledged.  We also MAY have one or two chicks being raised with a bunch out by the Ninnescah River by some other new chicken farmer friends of ours.

Is this a little like waiting for a baby we can adopt?  I am almost certain that “human” baby adoption is a way more serious undertaking, and the stakes are a lot higher.  And I so don’t mean to lessen the amazing blessings that people receive when they adopt.  So please, hold your hate mail.  I only mean love and peace when I wonder about this waiting we are doing for our new chickens.

What will they look like?  What coloring will they have?  Will they be cheery like the girls we have now?  Will they let me reach under them to gather eggs?

What this means, though, when I say we are getting a new generation of chickens, is that eventually, later this summer, we will be “relocating” some of our veteran layers.  Steve, almost certainly, has been laying disfunctionally for most of the winter and still this spring.  It’s sad, really.  His crooked beak prevents him from eating right, getting oyster shell into his crop, or from eating the bugs and other nutrients he needs for the shell to be strong enough to not collapse.  The only way to get him his nutrition is to use a dropper several times a day.  I’m not that committed – even though I feel a LITTLE guilty about that.

I DO, however, need to CONFIRM that Steve is the one laying the “bad eggs”.  The one egg, about every third day, has a collapsing shell that the other hens eat.  All that is left is a wet spot from the inside of the egg, which messes up the hay in the nest box, and is also gross.  Plus, it’s gross that the hens are eating eggshell for breakfast.  I’ve lectured them… to no avail.  They refuse to modify their behavior.  We may have to go to a penalty/star system.  One star for laying an egg that day.  One penalty check for eating eggshell or NOT laying an egg.

 I hate to think about the changing of the guard.  But potentially 9 chickens is too many to keep in our modest backyard apartment.  I have several farmer friends who can keep our “older” hens. 

I also found out from reading the paper that I should have a permit for “more than 3” hens in a “backyard coop”.  So I need to find the issuing office of that type of permit.

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3 comments on “It takes a Village

  1. robynrcooper says:

    Your little ones are coming along nicely here! As for what they will look like……well…..they will be either buff orpington or rhode island red. You would be welcome to pick one of the bantam’s, but we really got them because they were so tiny and cute! Kind of an impulse purchase. We have outgrown the original “bucket” and are currently in a cardboard “castle” playhouse. They are at the awkward stage between looking sick and looking like little chickens. They are eating and drinking well and busily practice their flying skills. We are putting a “day” pen together in hopes that we can move them from the bathroom to the front yard on warm days. The bathroom could use a good cleaning, as you might imagine! They haven’t escaped yet, but enjoy flying to the top of the feeder to hang out. We are proud to be their foster parents. Visitations are welcome!

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  2. kenlocke says:

    That sounds so fun, Robyn!!! No, we want you to keep the bantams, for sure. We’ll have to come visit soon. How many did you get?

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    • robynrcooper says:

      We purchased 12: 3 Bantams; 3 Rhode Islands; 6 Buff Orpingtons. Brad is working on the fence & coop on Saturday. He has had a busy couple of weeks with 2 funerals, besides it being Easter Season!

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