Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Chickens

Busy week here! Mom is in the hospital again and we've been going over and visiting.

So, we have two chickens. Well, we have 18, but these two, a hen and one of our roosters, are brother and sister. They were hatched here about 2 summers ago.

He is a real nasty guy. He takes seriously his role as Protector of The Ladies. Every day, I go into the henhouse and check the food and water situation and sometimes bring vegetable scraps from the kitchen. I take eggs back inside. I think it's a good trade; we sell the eggs to buy their food. Every third week or so, he comes at me with all he's got. I give back as good as I get. I am a little ashamed to admit I usually subdue him with a swift kick. I know, I know, it's undignified for a human, with vastly more intellect and dignity, to resort to kicking a chicken. But he's nasty enough to deserve it. Besides, it keeps him afraid of me. For about three weeks at a time.

She is becoming a real problem. She has learned to fly over the fence. She is light enough that she could do it last summer when we trimmed her wings back. She gets back in every night, but, during the day, she can cause serious trouble. This week, for instance, she discovered my raised beds, and began pecking and scratching through the dirt. That can be a good thing, when she finds weeds and grubs and gets rid of them for me. But yesterday I found that she had, while pecking and scratching, uncovered all my newly-planted potatoes. She also decided that the newly-planted broccoli starts and onion plants were noxious weeds, and she got rid of them for me. I'd like to get rid of her...

That time may be coming soon for both of them. The usual modus operandi is for us to cull the older hens who aren't laying anymore, and the roosters when they're nasty. They go into a soup pot, and I can the broth. Maybe it's not the nicest way to "retire" a hen who has laid many an egg for our table and many others. But when she eats my potatoes before I get a chance to...

1 comment:

Elephantschild said...

Is that the same girl who lodges herself up in your window ledge? Silly woman.