We are finally getting eggs! It seems like forever since we set up our coop and got our chickens. They are now a full six months old and are laying consistently! We get three to four eggs a day. Plenty to keep us fed for breakfast, make mayo, for all sorts of egg-cellent dishes. (Sorry, I had to!)
The ladies are still very skittish. They don’t really like when we walk around the coop or run. I suppose that’s where the phrase “You’re Chicken!” comes from. Hmm. I hope they will get a little more used to us as time goes on. I’m not really wanting to pick them up and carry them around, but I wouldn’t mind if they would stay in one place so I can take pictures of them.
We’ve been letting them free-range around the yard when we are home on the weekends. They really love going out in the woods and finding bugs and grass and things to eat. I love sitting on the porch and watching them wander around the yard, scratching and finding food. Bella got out one time while they were free-ranging and tried to catch them. I looked up and there was a chicken flying across the yard! I did not know they could fly! I finally got Bella back in the house and all but one of the chickens returned to the coop. I was about to leave the house for a while when this happened and thought we had lost a chicken. Fortunately when I got back she had returned to the coop. They were all resting from their scare earlier.
All during the day we also hear our rooster crowing! It’s not just an early morning thing. He makes a lot of noise all during the day and sometimes at night. We don’t mind too much. I think there is still some novelty to it, since we are first time backyard chicken farmers. And we can’t hear him from our bedroom when we are trying to sleep. That might be a problem if we could!
Originally we thought we had six hens. Then one grew tail feathers and a large crown and beard and we had one rooster and five hens. Surprise, surprise another one grew tail feathers, crown, and beard! Two roosters and four hens. Not the best situation. The roosters started fighting. With such a small flock, there is no need to have two roosters. One is almost overkill unless we want to raise chicks. So what kind of solution did we choose?
Chicken for dinner!
Our first chicken slaughter was easier and harder than we anticipated. For one there really isn’t all that much to it. I won’t go into details (and I did NOT take any pictures!), but I will say that youtube was a great help. You can learn all kind of how-tos on there. So we had the knowledge of what to do when we started. The hardest part was of course that we had to kill an animal. I’m all about eating meat and I believe that there is nothing wrong with it when you can take care of your animals and then slaughter them humanely. Once the deed was done, we had to de-feather it, weird feeling wet feathers on your hands. Then, it was a little tricky getting the insides out. There were lots of slimy tubes everywhere, and since it was a small bird I had to do the reaching because Hubby’s hands were too big. Ick!
It seems to be a success! The chicken is soaking in brine in the fridge and will be cooked this week. I don’t know how it will turn out. This chicken is a little older than the recommended age for this breed of chicken, since it is not a meat chicken. And it’s a rooster which doesn’t appear to have as much meat as a hen. We survived our first attempt and I think it could be done again if we decide to raise meat chickens. I like the idea of knowing where my food comes from and working directly to get it on the table.
To sum up, we have one rooster and four hens and chicken for dinner tomorrow.