For the last month or so our chickens have been on strike. Not one egg for almost a month. This could have easily lead to a bunch of tasty pots of chicken and dumplings, but so far we have let them live in peace. Today the gave four eggs and may have bought themselves so more time on the big blue marble. However, their days are numbered.
Being almost three years old they have moved past their prime laying time and probably hould have been eaten by now. This year we are going to expand they chicken production around the yard, but we haven't decided how many we are going to go with. We will probably go for another twenty or so laying hens. Last time we started with twenty four, six of each of four different kinds. Now we have three rhode island reds and three dominickers left. One of the the groups of six that we started with was pretty quickly killed by the other groups. I guess the term pecking order means something after all. I had no idea they would go after each other, but they would pick a chicken and just peck at through out the day. Once it was bleeding they would just go after it more and more until it was dead. I am not sure if having a rooster keeps order or not. I know the rooster will help to round up strays and make free range chickens go back into the coop at night. Since rooster are mean we decided to wait till the kids are a little older.
This time we are going to start with two kinds, although we haven't picked them yet. One kind will be for eggs and the other for meat. Yep, gonna be some killing around the farm. Having never had to actually kill something to eat I am not sure how this is going to work out, but if I have a problem doing it I should settle in with a nice salad. I think the hard part won't be the killing it will be the nasty business of cleaning the carcass. All the blood, guts, feet, heads and such. I am so very used to my neatly shrink wrapped packets of flesh.
We are going to keep these more seperated for each other by building chicken tractors. The are like a long short framed box covered with chicken wire that you put the chickens in and then move everyday so they get fresh grass and bugs. Great for lawn, good for the chickens. Picking the eggs out of the coop today I realized I need to hurry up and get going or spring time will be here and past before I get any built. Tomorrow I am going up to the old barn on the corner of the property to see what supplies I can salvage. I know I can some corrugated sheet metal for the tops and maybe I can get a little wood too.