Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Chicken Story

We have tried a few times to have chickens since living here, but due to a lack of real planning on my part, including secure housing for chickens, we have fed the local carnivores a few times.
But this year, we inherited some ducks from my mom and dad which is a story of it's own. The short version is that someone in the city of Buffalo thinks it cute to get their child ducks for Easter but forgot that ducks grow. My mom saw a facebook message asking to rescue the ducks, she does, they rehab in a grassy Niagara Falls backyard, and then get transplanted to our place in the country before getting busted for being a duck harborer in a city.

Well my mom and dad wanted to make sure the ducks made it here in the country, so when they came to visit for a week it was time to construct the Fort Knox duck house, nothing is going to eat these ducks. 

Aidan was the helper and Grandpa was the builder.  Since we live on a hill anything we build involves leveling which is a pain on its own. We tried to find the most level spot to build on, which meant that the duck house was built in the front yard. It works for me as we don't have a normal front yard anyway since the garden is also there.

Well, then I had a great idea that this duck house looks safe and way to big for just two ducks, so I sent my daughter to buy 2 chickens from the farm stand. And since she listens about as well as I do, she came home with 3 chickens.

The chickens started as cute little yellow and black puffs, that were living in a cage in Kat's room. Then they soon grew into some pretty ugly looking teen age chickens and I was wondering, "Did we get some mutated chickens?"

But soon enough, they grew out of that awkward stage and became some pretty cute chickens.

Since our dogs and cats were afraid of the chickens, we began to let them free range the yard.

The downside was chicken poop everywhere, but the upside was less feed and fatter chickens. What I love most off all is for the first time ever, the snail population in our yard is down. I am hoping for a decent garden this year. They love to peck at the front door and if you don't answer they will go and peck at the windows until you give them a treat.

    Aidan wanted to paint the coop. One day I let him. Not bad for a 6 yo but it will need to be redone in the spring.

Then something amazing happened! Something we were not expecting to happen until spring. We have eggs! In all of our previous attempts at chickens, the chickens ended up as food to the local carnivorers before ever getting to this stage. There is one downside. On Christmas, one of the ducks did die. It was attacked by one of our dogs who had gotten loose and had a treat that the duck tried to sniff. He became protective of his treat and attacked the duck. We tried to save the duck, but the wounds were fatal. It died about an hour later. Now, we make sure that the dog is tied up and watched whenever the fowls are out, otherwise he remains inside when they are out of their coop. 

The best part is that so far, we have gotten about three eggs a day! Not bad for the middle of winter.

When I saw this egg, I felt for that chicken. If I were that chicken, laying that might make me think twice about ever laying another egg again.

All Aidan wanted after gathering his eggs was an omelet, but he caught the tummy bug before he got the chance. Instead, he spent a day on the couch with his buddy getting better.

But then it was time for the first omelet made out of the eggs from our chickens that finally grew so big. Of course, we had to use the big egg which had two yolks.

That was the best omelet he has ever had!

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