I Turned The Knob That Opens The Door

When I got the chickens, I heard all sorts of things like, "they're like potato chips. You can't have just one," and "by the end of summer you'll have twice what you started out with." People, I have no intention of turning into The Crazy Chicken Lady. Never will my epitaph read, "she died quietly in her sleep, surrounded by her flock of 47 chickens." Or even, "she was pecked to death by her 1800 hens while trying to gather eggs."

I tried to estimate how many chickens we would need based on how many eggs our family eats (which is a lot, and that's why we got chickens), and how many eggs "good laying chickens" lay per week. (This varies, based on time of year, breed of chicken, and other factors that only chickens seem to know about.) I estimated that 12-15 hens would be perfect, and then only bought 10 for some reason when I was at the farm. I think I remember the reason being that we'd have to replace our hens this fall, so we'd get some chicks this spring and by the time they were old enough to start laying they'd just take over for our older hens.

And then I educated myself some more and learned that my hens didn't really need replaced this fall, it was just the magical age when Crazy Chicken People who have too many birds decide that the hens aren't producing at their peak and replace them with younger, more productive birds. I'm not going to be that ruthless in my culling, so my ten hens were all keepers as far as I was concerned. There was talk about getting chicks anyway so that we'd have enough eggs over winter when my hens cut back production when nature took it's course, but the debate raged whether it would be more economic to feed more chickens or to buy a few supplemental eggs.

Yesterday we woke up to find that one of our little red hens did not. I'm clueless why she is no longer among the living, and am a bit worried that it might be a contagious kind of thing. But that worry aside, we now only have 9 chickens. Considering I should have got 12-15 hens to begin with, we're pretty low in numbers. I may or may not have enough eggs to feed the family. And the debate began. Do we buy chicks? Do we look for another flock reduction? And how many do we get, because I do not want to be The Crazy Chicken Lady with 300 birds.

The answer, again, is 10. We got 10. And if you can do simple math, you know that ten minus one plus ten is 19. We now have 19 chickens. This just turned the knob on the Crazy Chicken Lady door.


wendy said...

Oh baby chicks are soooo cute, and fresh eggs taste so much better than grocery store eggs.

Cindy said...

You're too funny! When my husband was born, his parents owned a chicken ranch and sold the eggs as a way to make a living. They had 10,000 chickens!