What about the chickens?

ChickensA reader asked, “Why haven’t I seen anything about them lately?” There are currently 11 hens and a rooster, the soft-voiced, gentlemanly Cloud, a Lavender Americana. The flock consists of three of my original six Americanas, four young Americanas, a Black Sex-linked hen, a Silver Wyandotte hen, and two banty hens. It’s almost impossible to get a picture of them altogether, but here are most of them, busily hunting for a handful of grain.

Because they are voracious, they have been eating away their hillside habitat.

HoudiniSo much so that the black and white banty, who I have renamed Houdini, has been finding little holes where the dirt is eroding, and escaping daily into the garden. To begin to remedy this, on Saturday, three strong guys came and salvaged enough concrete from the hillside to build the first level of a terrace:

wallThe wall is three and half feet tall and about thirty feet long. Apparently, people in this neighborhood just toss old concrete down the hill when they remove it. My neighbor said he has this much embedded in his hillside, too. There’s a sizable pile of leftover concrete–but I’m not planning on tossing it down the hill.

As soon as it was built, dirt bath
the chickens settled into their
new terrace for a dirt bath. It’s fun to watch them toss dirt all over their feathers.

But all in all, feed, maintenance, etc., makes me understand why “pasture-raised” eggs are over six dollars a dozen.  I’m sure I’d have to sell my eggs at at least five dollars each to break even at this point.

Still, it’s hard to beat chickens for entertainment of a livestock variety.

And there’s nothing like fresh eggs and greens from the garden for breakfast.  I’ve never had an egg at any price that tasted so good. I’m going to have to think about a few new chicks, to make sure I have eggs this winter.Breakfast