Chicken Run

I have been wanting to get laying hens for a while.

Sent the last ones packing about a year ago because we were not getting any eggs.  It’s not that they were not laying, (they were).  But because I was letting them free range, they were hiding the eggs all over the property. Then, one of the little stinkers acquired a taste for farm fresh eggs.  It finally came to a head when they started venturing over to the neighbors every morning  and stealing the neighbor lady’s cat food.

Free ranging chicken sounds good in theory, but  a chicken has no concept of property lines, and when they can fly over a 6 ft fence, good luck telling them they have to stay home.

But in the back of my mind, Robert Fulguhm’s  essay “Not Even Chickens” continued to cast a long shadow over my life.

I really do feel like a rich man when  I have a few chickens.

++++++++++++++++++

So, while the desire was there,  that didn’t mean I was just going to act on it.

Financially, I wanted having chickens fit into the big picture of our life and not be a slow bleed on our finances.

And then last week, I had enough discretionary  money saved up between my monthly stipend, some cash I got for Christmas, and then more cash for my birthday to buy some chickens.

I figured 6 or 7 chickens would be perfect.

Decided to put out some feelers on a local garage sale site on Face book.

30 minutes later I had a lead.  Lady had 13 pullets born in August, that had just started to lay.  She was looking to get a different breed.

The only catch, I had to take all 13.

Then we started to talk money.  I asked her what she wanted per bird?  She wasn’t sure.  How much would I pay her?

I hate dickering.  Told her that right up front.  Didn’t want to insult her, by being too low.  She would just need to set a price and I could say yes or no.

Having bought chickens before, a fair price for a young laying hen starts around $10 a bird, and could be as much as $12 to $15, especially if you’re only getting a few.

She said, “Well I raised them from babies …I would like maybe $3.00 a bird but if that is too much we can talk.”

Sold!

Told her I could pick them up  Saturday morning.

As we finished loading the birds,  She teared up as we put them in the back of my pick up.  I could tell the chickens were her pets….her babies as she called them.

“They need to ride in the cab if it will fit” (the cage). 

Temps that morning were single digit.  I had brought a tarp,  my intention was put them all in one cage together, throw a tarp over the cage for the ride home.  (They would have been fine).

Well, the cage fit into the cab, (barely).

The ride home was interesting.

13 chickens taking up 2/3’s of the front seat.  I managed to get the drop cloth under part of the cage.  Wasn’t long before they were crapping past the tarp.  I noticed my coffee mug was directly below an untarped portion of the cage.  ;-(

I was glad to get home.

I really didn’t want to keep all 13 of the birds, so I put an ad on Craigslist Sunday morning.

Pullets for sale – $10

6 pullets for sale. Born in August 2018, just starting to lay. (Brown eggs) $10 firm. I had to buy the whole lot when I picked up these birds…few more than I really need.

Had an offer in 2 hours.  Delivered those 6 hens  Monday morning.

Paid $40 for 13 hens.  Sold 6 for $60.

So there are now 7 happy healthy laying hens on the property and I’m $20 ahead.

Just got home after an hour cooped up with 13 nervous birds

Early morning view of the chicken house.

Life lesson in this for me again is this…

God knows the desires of my heart.  He is not some cosmic Genie, nor is he a killjoy. He is unpredictable.  And sometimes, in the most unexpected ways, he shows himself in my life.  DM

 

19 thoughts on “Chicken Run

  1. We were given some ex battery hens as a housewarming gift in the cottage. They came with an old hen house of our donors as they’d got new and we could only accommodate 5 of the intended 6. We didn’t give them names, except Scraggy, the most pathetic of the bunch.
    We lost one relatively soon afterwards, it simply lost the will to live or do anything, so Hubby despatched it. No good for the table though, no meat and what there was would be too tough. We had over 1200 eggs during the time though and I sold the surplus every week. We lost another about a eighteen months later and decided to rehome and retire the other three to a friend with a small holding and a lonely one eyed rooster called Steve. Scraggy ruled the roost and was the last to pass away, being found ‘asleep’ in the nesting box a year or so after that. Great time, loved it and their characters, but wouldn’t have them again as they were too destructive in the garden. But oh, those eggs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have Paul build you a “chicken tractor” ..that will keep them out of the garden…I am impressed with the number of eggs…. I can see the number cruncher in you on this one. Haven’t named anybody yet here…a rooster named Steve. Now that is funny 🙂

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      • He was terrified of Scraggy and wouldn’t go in the hen house apparently. They did compromise though and he and our three got on.
        As for our eggs, I made a sash for egg no 1000 and it was a shame to eat it. How sad is that!

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  2. Doug, your post reminded me of how much joy I got out of having hens all those years ago when we lived in the country. We actually can have “urban chickens” in our town (only a few and only hens), and if our property weren’t under water for 2-4 weeks every spring we’d have them again. One of my very first blog posts was about our chickens: https://robbyrobinsjourney.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/lessons-from-raising-chickens/
    Enjoy them, especially those amazing eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will check out your post Jane. Thanks for the link. Got 5 eggs today (from 7 hens) not bad, not bad @ all…I think you should get chickens again. You can always put them in the garage for the month during the rainy season 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m just saying that Chicken Licken and Henny Penny look awfully cozy in that last picture! I love that they rode home with you in the front seat, hilarious! And I hope your coffee cup went through the dishwasher or hot water & bleach 2x !! Enjoy 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks mate, but please never put ideas into her head, it always generates work for me!

        Anyway the dawg would not be impressed.
        The last time Di had chickens the damn things pecked the dogs behind when having a dump. Frightened it to death!

        After that the dawg NEVER ‘went’ in the garden again and yours truly ended up going for a walk ever time it needed to toilet.

        Still the plus was corn fed chucks turn out lovely eggs and we made a little money selling the excess.

        (They like chat shows the best)

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  4. Well this should be fun Doug! You’re a shrewd businessman, way to turn a nice profit. I hope they mind their manners and lay just where you want them to, and give you all the eggs you can eat to go with your coffee 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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