Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Chicken Whisperer

You've heard of the movie/book The Horse Whisperer right? Or we see commercials and programs on TV about others adopting this so called title and using it for snakes or bears, etc. Well, my son [jokingly] claims to be THE Chicken Whisperer. And yes, please join me as I laugh hysterically. He cracks me up (pun intended). lol

Spring is right around the corner and our local farm and home store is having 'Chick Days'. Which basically just means, it's time to buy poultry! There are baby chicks out the wazoo! The kids used to always love to go in and look at them, and about 10 years ago I even let them buy a couple of ducks when they had those at the store. We had an extra bathroom in our home at the time that wasn't being used and the baby ducks moved in. Which of course didn't last long because let me tell you, ducks grow VERY FAST. Ducks are cute, yellow, fluffy.....and stinky. ;o) Everyday I was changing paper like potty training a puppy. Clean the paper out of the tub, wash the tub, fill the tub with water, let the ducks swim and the kids play, then dry it all out, put more paper down, feed the ducks and start the routine over. After about two weeks, the ducks were too big to be considered cute and cuddly, they began getting NOISY and it was time to take them outside. We have always lived in the country so we kept them in a kennel at night so the wild animals couldn't make a midnight snack out of them. Letting them out during the day to waddle around, eat and forage and swim in the small pond in our backyard. Snapping turtles were never something that crossed our minds. And that's all I'm gonna say about the ducks. Daffy and Daisy lived a very short but happy and spoiled life. We no longer do ducks. ;o)

Now... we do chickens. Over a year ago we began reading, our lifestyles changed and we were going to become one of those families that lived organically. Off the land the good Lord gave us. Growing everything we needed, etc. etc. Well, considering we are country people that is a lot easier to do than most who live in the city or towns. After all, we raise our own beef and butcher it every year. How hard could it be to do more? Chickens, our bigger garden, milking our dairy cow, making cheese and making an honest effort to eat healthier by mom (that would be me) taking the extra effort to cook more of our meals from scratch rather than from frozen packages or boxes.

We still do homegrown beef (totally yummy and nothing like store bought beef), we tried the milking thing. Yeah.... the cats enjoyed it more than we did. My husband loved the whole milk that we skimmed the cream from the top. The kids and I, not so much. I could use it to cook but drinking it was another story. The kids wanted no part of it (even though they couldn't tell when I cooked with it). Garden veggies we've always been acceptable to. My gardening skills on the other hand leave a bit to be desired. I pick a few certain veggies that are favorites and we eat what we grow but the 'extra' for canning has not happened yet. Even though I bought all the supplies and goodies to do so. Best laid plans right...... I still do most of our cooking from scratch. Even making homemade bread rather than buying it from the store. I tend to slack off though depending on the kids' school schedules. Since I have teenagers in sports and other activities we are going most of the time and the couple of hours you have to devote to making homemade bread, well let's just say it's better if it's uninterrupted and focused bread making time. ;o)

The best and most stuck to plan (besides the beef) is our love of our new chickens. We got 11 new chickens last year about this time. After lots of reading and chicken studying we were going to be chicken farmers, raising home grown fryers and selling country fresh eggs. (say it with me.... a BIG HA!) lol We are down to 6 chickens. The coyotes and coons loved our new endeavors. But those 6 remaining hens are fiesty! We've had fresh eggs since last summer and not that you can really taste a big difference (even though some say you can), it's nice to have our own supply of eggs because we actually use quite a few on a daily basis.

My 6 year old Tanner picked out one lone chicken for his own. We purchased those 11 chickens that included 10 Rhode Island Reds, and one lone little yellow Buff Orpington. Tanner named her Poachy. No, he's never had a poached egg, doesn't even know what it means, but Poachy she is and she has become the biggest hen in the house and rules the roost so to speak. The rest of the girls follow her like a bad scene from Mean Girls. It's hilarious to watch at times.
Meet Poachy

My oldest son Tyler made a sport out of chasing the girls to catch them every night to put them away in the chicken house. Some nights we would return after dark and they would already be roosting on gutters or ladder rungs or steps in the barn. The girls definitely love to roost. Tyler started calling himself the chicken whisperer as he could catch the girls a lot easier than the rest of us and began treating them like pets. (Yes, we think he's a dork at times. lol But it really is hilarious!)

Since it's chick days at the store, yesterday we decided to add to our flock and purchased 20 more chickens. (Overshooting our needed estimate, and taking into consideration the local coyotes and coons would be having a spring fling compliments of the Lynch's again.)

Fifteen new little Rhode Island Reds to add to the coop, and five special little chicks that my son calls "the raccoon chickens". Not because he expects the coons to eat them, but because he thinks they look like raccoons with the black feathers and circles around their eyes. Did I mention he picked out the runts again? I'm thinking this is a sign. We should let Tanner pick the chickens every year.
Little Rhode Island Reds. Perfect egg layers and they double as fryers if needed. :o) But, quite frankly, I have no intention of breaking their necks or plucking feathers like my granny used to do. I'll keep Colonel Sanders in business before I go chopping up my chicks. ;o)
Our cute new little 'Raccoon' chicks.
They are currently sharing the coop with the big girls but in a more confined area of their own until they are big enough to take on the outside world. It really is a fun and easy project to do with your kids. Even if you live in town there are ways you can house and make small 'coops' for just a couple of chickens. Consider it a home school project. And if it's not something you enjoy there are always people you can give the chickens away to or sell them.

For those that have seen a World Vision catalog you can teach your children about how a chicken provides a family with eggs to eat and sell, and when you purchase a chicken like we did for our Lent study what impact it has. I could share all kinds of thoughts and analogies on my baby chicks and orphans but I bet if you thought about it real hard you could figure them out. There were literally 100's of chicks at the store. We 'adopted' 20. We didn't give a second thought to their size or color, how old or young they might be, we just wanted to take home those chicks.
The big girls started out that size a year ago and they roam the farm during the day. They wandered into the barn yesterday in the horse stalls and were scratching for things to eat in the dirt. Why you'd rather dig through dirt than eat fresh feed from a sack is beyond me. ;) lol
And of course my wandering photographer's eye had to play a bit. My husband's OLD Farmall tractor has seen better days. But it's still running and can do what we need it to.

Sicky poo had to check to make sure we were getting his new raccoon chicks settled in to suit him. And then he decided to start a snowball fight with dad and take a ride on the four-wheeler before mom made him go back inside yesterday. Leave it to mom to be the bad guy. Cause dad's are just for havin' fun right? ;o)
You can see after over 12 inches of snow in the last few weeks, it's finally starting to melt. But it's making some HUGE mud puddles. See those t-bones growin' in the background?! ;o) Yum Yum! We love livin' on the farm. ♥

All those interested or in need of a chicken whisperer just drop me a line! I think he's writing a book soon.


  1. Love all the pics. The tractor one is so cool. You should frame that.

  2. I love your blog! I love your blog!
    Your photos are gorgeous, by the way! :)

  3. This post was SOOOOOO much fun to read!!!!! I had NO idea you were such a country girl!!!!! I love it! Sounds like the PERFECT field trip for me one day girl;)!