I haven’t written much about the chickens lately. It's not that they don't still entertain me, I just haven't had the time to write. The first year went so well we decided to expand this past summer — 10 more chicks and one rooster. (I thought it would be nice to make our own chicks on site and not have to buy new ones every year.) The "chicken store" generously gave us a spare rooster in case the one we bought didn’t survive. Both of them thrived. I read that roosters are fine if they are raised together so we kept the two: Bob Tail and “the Other One.”
Since the ‘boys’ were still too young to be of any use, I went on Craigslist looking for fertilized eggs (you can get anything on Craigslist!). I found some for sale not too far away and stuck them under the chickens. By the last day of June I was hearing little peeps coming from underneath the hen. They were adorable little multi-colored things. And it was so easy! (for me, anyway). There was none of this watching the thermometer to make sure they chicks were warm enough and changing the bedding every three hours or so; Mama took care of everything!
Sadly, after about four months those cute little chicks were huge, the biggest three in the entire flock…and then they started crowing. Not one female! So now I had a flock that was 20% roosters. Even as a novice farmer I realized that was not a good idea and I’m pretty sure that the neighbors agreed every morning. So, I talked to some fellow novice farmer friends. Together we watched a Youtube video on butchering chickens. I choked. I gave them “the Other One” with the stipulation that he leave my place alive and well and that they were careful to ensure he wouldn’t suffer. I was down to four roosters...still too many. Back to Craigslist.
We traded Gray Baby and Bob for two slightly older Gold Sex-link hens. The new chickens are a little battered from being picked on by Rhode Island Reds (yes, chickens are somewhat racist, I’m sorry to say. They recognize different colors and breeds and tend to be naughty at times). So the new chickens (affectionally known as "the scrawny ones" are “re-cooperating” (see what I did there?) in the brooder by themselves, re-growing their feathers and plumping up. I might get some eggs from the new scrawny hens. I at least have a better chance of getting eggs from them than from a rooster.
So now I’m down to two roosters, trying to pick the one with the nicest personality: the Black One or the Other Black One…they are identical except one seems to be nicer. I just can’t tell which one it is when they move around. This is the part of farming I don't enjoy.