Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meet the Chickens

Guess What?

Chicken butt!!!

My parents have about 20 chickens at their place.

They live in this adorable hen house mounted onto a trailer so it can be moved around the property periodically.  (Helps keep the poop from building up too much in one place!):

They are free range and go into the hen house for the night on their own.  The hen house has a light sensor that closes the door when it gets dark.

My parents bought about 20 chicks last spring.

They were supposed to be buff Orpingtons, but most of them ended up being more of a mottled red color.

A few are more buff-ish colored than others:

Every spring, the 1st graders at my kids' school hatch chicken eggs as a class. I volunteered my parents' ranch as a good home for the chicks after they hatched.  Seemed like going to live on a ranch was a better fate than sending them off piece-meal to suburban backyards where they would end up eaten by neighborhood dogs.  So this last spring, my parents also ended up taking in 18 more chicks - a grab bag of breeds.

The chicks grew up and lived free and happy for a time.  But a lot of the breeds were not... ideal.
After awhile, it was decided that they were more ideal for chicken soup. Only a few of the original motley crew "made the cut," but a couple of roosters were included:

As long as these guys stay reasonably non-aggressive and quiet, they get to stay.  But my very NOT morning person sister has sworn that the first time one of these guys wakes her up, he's history.

Stay quiet, my feathered friend...

So you lose a few of the poor behaved birds here.  A few of the weird breeds there.  A few runts got trampled by the others (nature sure is cruel). A few deaths from random natural causes and in the end their numbers dwindled down from 38 to about 20. It's a comfortable group for now, but they're talking about getting more in the spring again.

I've been thrilled because almost every time I see my parents I get fresh free-range eggs!

The chickens have almost entirely eliminated the scorpion problem my parents used to have.  Phew!!

In their spare time, the chickens enjoy table scraps and pecking at my shoes.

They do not enjoy it when Scott keeps trying to chase them.

But they make up for it by occasionally chasing Kate just enough to make her nervous.

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