Monday, October 17, 2011

The Truth About Chickens

Minerva Louise checking to see what leftovers I brought.

1) Chickens and mulched pathways do not mix.  Chickens and mulched trees and plants do not mix.  Chickens and sheet mulch do not mix.  Sensing a pattern here?  Let me make it easy.  Chickens + Mulch = NO!!!

2) Even though chickens and mulch (and frankly vegetable gardens) don't mix, that doesn't mean chickens aren't awesome for the garden.  They obviously add protein to the homegrown diet and produce prodigious amounts of poop.  They, also, break down straw like nobody's business, adding fertilizer as they go.  I clean out the straw bedding from the coop periodically and spread it as mulch around the fruit trees. Their crushed egg shells go into the soil for added calcium.  It's an edible gardener's dream.

3) Devote a pair of shoes to your chickens.  Yes, one whole pair or maybe even two.  These are your chicken poop, I mean coop shoes.  They can walk around the garden but preferably not on alot of paved surfaces and never, ever, even in an emergency into the house.

4) Wear gloves when cleaning out the bedding or the expletive you utter will be what is on your hands.

5) Chickens are the carb queens of the livestock world.  Oh sure, you hear folks go on and on about how their chooks just go crazy for watermelon.  Or grapes.  Or blueberries.  Okay, mine like blueberries too but blueberries are too expensive to waste on those birds!  Whenever I bring out the kitchen scraps, is it the pumpkin or cantaloupe they go?  The tomatoes?  It is not.  Those little piglets can beak out a spaghetti noodle or hunk of bread quicker than you can say "egg"!  They are also mighty partial to proteins: scrambled eggs, bits of cheese.  The healthy stuff?  Last resort, baby!

Serena found the leftover pasta.

6) On the topic of leftovers, chickens are the great garbage disposal of the homestead.  Almost all of our leftovers (they cannot eat uncooked onions and potatoes, moldy stuff), go through the coop.  They'll eat it all - and then you'll save on chicken feed.

7) People or animals who are scared are called "chicken" for a reason.  Because chickens think everything is scary.  The rake.  The hose.  The kids (okay, they are a bit scary).  The shade on the side of their coop that blocks the beating summer sun.  I've only ever had one chicken who was afraid of nothing - even our dog who tried to eat her.  Of course, chickens are prey so maybe it is a good thing to be wary of life after all.

8) Speaking of sayings, once you own chickens, you will understand half of the proverbs on this planet.  Ruling the roost.  Bottom of the pecking order.  The nest egg.  The hen house.  Cackling like a bunch of hens.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket.  Flew the coop.  Chicken scratch.  Don't get your feathers ruffled.  If its a saying and you've heard it, odds are about 50% it involved chickens.

9) No matter what you name your chicken, it was sound adorable.  Omelet.  Cute.  Henny Penny.  Fun.  Puff and Fluff.  Sweet.  Dinner.  Hilarious.  See what I mean?

Read what my hens have to say, in their own words, in my Tales from the Roost series.  To keep up with my squawk-talk, join the Facebook page.

* I'm linking this post to Homestead Barn Hop.

10 comments:

Robj98168 said...

When I retire, I am getting 3 hens. They will be named LaVerne and Shirley (no not after the t.v. show, but after two of my Aunts) and the third will be Crunchy- after you know who!

dixiebelle said...

Love it! We have had our babies outside the last two days (warming up here in Australia) and they are so fun to watch!

Diana said...

So true so true! My 4 backyard hens, Esther, Gwynnno, Crazy Nellie, and Pomegranite -- have pretty much devastated my back yard. Nothing is safe from them. Right now it looks like the site of an all night pillow fight (molting). I do have my vegetable garden screened off, so it's protected. Their eggs have been wonderful, going on 6 years now but have tapered off considerably this year. I need to figure out what to do with retired chickens, as I really can't have more than 4 and I'll need new layers.

Chickens also give you great insight as to how a Tyrannosaurus Rex would be.

Tammy said...

Right on, Chicken Sister! My chickens are mostly NOT chicken, though. They are unphased and I think it is the desensitizing that they get with my dogs that think they should hang out together...

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

I loved this post. So informative. I'm looking for all the 'truths' about chickens I can find! I'm a newbie chicken owner...
right now I'm so curious with them...I've moved my patio furniture out to the chicken coop so I can sit and watch them! LOL...

The Husband (and the kids) all think I'm nuts! ....but I can't help myself...Pat

Green Bean said...

@Rob - Lol!! Those would be GREAT names! All three of them.

@Dixiebelle - How fun! It is so interesting to watch them as they are so different from any other pets I've ever owned.

@Diana - Great names! And great insight re the T-Rex. Those dinosaur claws and the way they run with their heads down. Mine are only 2. I am not looking forward to the day when they slow down. Hopefully you'll have figured out (and shared) what to do with a retired hen by then!

@Tammy - Hmm, I wonder if it is the fact that they didn't grow up with dogs. They aren't afraid of cats - but the kids? Hey, they are worth 10 dogs so there goes that theory!

@Pat - Oh, I remember those days! When I first got my girls, I was out there ALL THE TIME! They are fascinating and full of personality. Have fun!

PaulaB52 said...

The funniest name for one of our chickens is "Que Pah", which is the sound she makes when she gorges herself on chicken scratch, inhales dirt at the same time and spits the recently ingested scratch back out onto the ground for her fellow hens to scarf up.

If you think chickens are scardey cats, you really should see guineas. A leaf fluttering to the ground sets them off in a panic!

Green Bean said...

@PaulaB52 - Ohhh, that is a good name. Noted re guineas. That must really be quite a sight!

Sarah said...

I know you posted this awhile ago, but I just have to say "Amen!" as I push up the mulch around my fruit trees for the hundredth time, while considering weighting it down with rocks and wondering how much chicken freedom is worth.

Green Bean said...

Lol, Sarah. I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel that way. Honestly, it is because of the mulch that I don't let my chickens out as much as I used to. Every time I think about letting the girls out, I think, what damage can they do?

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