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The Dixie Chick(en)s April 23, 2008

Posted by Laura in Farm.

We’ve made progress in getting our laying flock contained and increasing egg production. We typically get over 2 dozen a day, making folks at church and our elderly neighbors quite happy as we have been giving away our surplus of lovely eggs.

Each hen was carefully screened for egg-eating habits before being added to the movable coops, but some renegades have developed in the ranks. After proudly declaring our storage tote laying boxes a success in a previous posting, I am eating crow. (That will soon change- I will be eating chicken!). The feathered gals have taken to throwing out all the nesting material and fighting over the “best box,” breaking the eggs inside. Once broken, some naughty chickens have begun eating the eggs. They give themselves away by the tell-tale yolk spattered on the feathers around their heads.

(We’ve had 12 laying boxes in our henhouse for years but the boss hens declare 3 to be the only suitable ones and shun the rest. The not-so-cool hens will stand in line with their legs crossed waiting to use one of the “good” ones. Peer pressure is at work even among chickens).

When I collect eggs each day, I also check for ladies with egg on their faces. When I find one, out she goes to a holding cell where she is marked for the gallows.

It isn’t convenient or possible to “process” a chicken right away some times, so that is why I’ve started decorating the naughty ones so we can identify them easily when the time comes. I don’t want to make yet another pen to carry food and water to just for these death row chickens, so the alternative is to let them free range until we are ready to make chicken and dumplings. I had to come up with a pretty permanent way to mark them and we had leftover spray paint on hand. I decided to let them be patriotic in their last days. Here are a couple pictures.



1. Becky - April 24, 2008

Better be careful. Those hens remind me of Indians painted up in preparation for a war party. Pretty colors!

2. Marci - April 24, 2008

Hee hee…… That’s a good way to do it. You should sell your excess eggs and let them pay for their feed. =)

3. Laura - April 24, 2008

We used to have an unintentional yet busy egg business. When the hens stopped laying last fall, we got out. It was a source of stress to have the right number of eggs ready (and I am perfectionistic about having at least one blue-green, one speckled, and one dark brown in each carton) on the right day and we were rationing our own egg use to fill other people’s orders. The worst part was that we weren’t charging enough to even pay for the birds’ feed, but hated to raise prices. There is one lady who drove 30 miles to pickup eggs from us and I know she REALLY appreciated them. She often brought bread to feed both dogs and chickens while she was here. I think I will call her and let her know we have a surplus again, but no more deliveries.

4. -Kev - April 24, 2008

LOL! That’s a great story!

When I was in Ireland last year, shephards would slap some red, green, blue, or some other color paint on their sheep. Each shephard’s was a specific color. That way, they could just let the sheep roam around the countryside and intermingle until it was shearing time.

I think that’s also where the term ‘catching you red handed’ comes from, but I can’t remember the tie-in.

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