Well, it’s spring. And I’m blogging about my chickens. It seems to happen every year. I should just cut and paste my post from last time. But, I can’t help it!
(I do blog more about my kids than about my chickens, though. I checked my Tag Cloud.)
Every spring, we have our first warm sunny day, and I open up the doors to the coop, and the girls come bursting out into the sunlight, and spend the next joyful hours “discovering” the world outside. That they forgot was there. Because it’s been a long winter. And they are really pretty stupid. But I love them for that too……….
This time, when I burst into their coop with my pitchfork (another sign of their lack of intelligence is that they’re not at all fazed by being awoken by a girl holding a pitchfork) I found a lovely surprise waiting for me. 6 eggs! 6 tiny almost ridiculous eggs from our 2 tiny almost ridiculous birds………but I was so excited! They stop laying in the winter. The days are too short, the coop is too cramped, their energy goes entirely into staying alive in the cold. These eggs are a joyful sign! A sign of light and warmth and survival. 36 more of these tiny eggs and I’ll have enough for an omelet………
So, I mucked out the coop, the girls scratched around the yard, I collected the eggs. I had a few bittersweet moments of remembering the girl that didn’t make it through the winter. It’s a miracle this bird even made it into the winter. Tessa was the wrong kind of chicken. Tessa was a broiler. Broilers are bred to get so huge so fast, that they are ready to slaughter in 45 days. We did not do our research. We saw the world’s most adorable puffy yellow chick and had to have her. She was so cute you wanted to eat her up………….my point exactly.
Tessa was a good girl. She made it way past the 45 days. But she didn’t make it past winter. I don’t think she had an unhappy life. She ate and drank and scratched. She did sit around a lot. Her legs weren’t strong enough to haul her broiler-ness around for very long at one stretch. But she got to sit in the sun. And chase bugs from where she sat. She gave it up in January. (I don’t blame her. January makes me want to give it up most years too…….) We buried her in the garden. Which is one (and possibly the only) perk of global warming: we were able to dig a hole in the non-frozen ground even in January.
So, we’re down to 3 girls. In Neenah, you’re allowed to have 4 hens. So, we’ll be getting a chick again this spring. Again, she will be so cute we will let her sit on our hands and poop in our house. Again, we will spend the first few months praying that she is really a “she” and not a rooster (which would have to go find a “nice home in the country”, like Sasquatch). Again, we will just want to eat her up! But, we won’t. Because, this time, she will NOT be a broiler from Tractor Supply.