I am so sorry. I could have sworn I posted the first chicken story here but it was a discussion on Facebook instead. Some of you will remember that we started out with 10 red hens and five bantams about 3-1/2 years ago. The bantams were: Thelma, Louise, Tiffany, Roscoe and Otis. When you get those chicks at Tractor Supply, you’re never sure what you’re getting, even when they say they’re all pullets (girls) but when you get straight run (boys and girls), we’ve always ended up with about 60/40 boys/girls. There were other chickens but only the bantams seem to multiply like crazy.
Otis turned out to be a crazy rooster and we gave him to a friend. Thelma and Roscoe were roosters and they fought so we put Roscoe in the coop with the 10 red hens. Roscoe and Miss Hattie fell in love and were inseparable. Roscoe, being a bantam, only wanted to sleep in the tree tops and we could not keep him penned up. He would go straight up and escape every chance he could. Miss Hattie learned to get out of the run . . no matter how secure we thought it was, she, and only she from all 12 hens, would escape every day and spend her time galavanting with Roscoe. Then, one night, an owl or something got Roscoe and that was “The End” for him.
We still had Thelma, Louise and Tiffany in bantam coop. Bantams LOVE to hatch eggs. Louise and Tiffany were both sitting on eggs when, in December, 2013, dogs came through and killed all of the chickens except 3 or 4 of them. I wasn’t sure how long before Louise and Tiffany’s eggs were to hatch but it was December, it was cold, and the nest had been unattended for at least 6 hours. That night, as we were cleaning out the coops, Vince said “These eggs are chirping!” We took the chirping eggs and put them under lights and I think 6 of them hatched. Then, we were at Tractor Supply and we found 4 more bantams that were so cute so . . in early 2014, we had 10 bantams. They hatched eggs and they hatched eggs and every time I’d catch them just starting to sit on eggs, I’d say “NO” and I’d take the eggs but it was a losing battle.
We have friends who said they would take them. I asked Vince “You didn’t tell them how many, did you?” He said no! Thankfully! Sunday evening they came to get the chickens.
There were 41 chickens . . actually 42 since I found the little black one the next day and took him to them. Included in that number were 3 Anconas and 1 Black Copper Marans hen.
And, there were 93 eggs those chickens were sitting on. Can you imagine if even half of those would have hatched and then we would have had almost 100 bantams. Oh . . I can’t think about it.
The problem for me is that we had 6 coops with chickens and each coop has water inside and water outside. Every day, at least once a day, I have to scrub those water containers and refill them. Often, I’m doing it 2 or 3 times a day on hot days. Those are big 5 gallon containers and I rarely do it that I don’t get covered in nasty chicken water (or worse) and then I have to come in and take another shower.
Plus, we were over run with eggs. I didn’t want to mess with selling eggs so I was giving eggs away, buying egg cartons, paying for feed . . it was crazy.
Now we have 13 chickens (10 red hens and 3 Iowa Blue hens) in one coop. In another coop, we have 1 Dominique rooster, 4 Dominique hens and 1 Black Copper Marans hen. In one more coop . . and I think we’re going to give these away, we have 1 Speckled Sussex rooster, 1 Speckled Sussex hen and 2 Black Copper Marans hens. If we get rid of those, we’ll have 19 good chickens in only two coops to maintain.
With winter coming, I’d be dealing with frozen water, keeping heat going in 6 coops when the temps drop to single digits, prying open 6 doors when they’re frozen shut. Having 2 coops and 19 chickens instead of 6 coops and 66 chickens, plus all those babies that would have hatched . . much better for this old granny.
Whatever will you do with all of your free time?
Okay, now it makes sense. I couldn’t imagine you were getting rid of all your chickens, and thought I’d missed a post somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.
Dar in MO says
I’m so glad you explained this too. I was having a hard time accepting that you had given away all your chickens. You have to stop telling those Facebook fans more than us long time blogging friends! LOL Your solution sounds very sensible to me. You definitely need more time for knitting and quilting that dealing with frozen water containers and cleaning out chicken coops.
wanda jordan says
Wow that was a lot of chickens. Now what about the watering system that hangs down on a pole like thing. It looks like a bottle with some kind of little thing they reach up and get a drop or two of water. Would that work? I’ll send you a photo next time the “the chicken lady” sends me one. Yep she has chicken too. She takes photos like you but doesn’t have as interesting life as you do. But she puts the funniest captions with her chicken photos .We get a good laugh at each one. She has the furry kind in all colors. Never says much about them just gives us a laugh.
Oh thank you so much for letting us know (I don’t Facebook). Well, now it makes complete sense. I can’t believe you still have so many chickens left after giving away 42 and that they were sitting on over 90 eggs! Yikes! After all you’ve been through, I’m kind of surprised that you kept more than just the one coop! Wow. I keep thinking I want to live somewhere that I can raise chickens and I have to admit that a lot of your stories are a little scary. Still… that fact that you still want to keep them, makes me feel better. Whew. You have one crazy life, lady. I love it!
Rebecca in SoCal says
I’m all for simplification (not good at it), so good for you! It’s too bad you still need three coops, but that’s only half what you had before!
Are you counting on these hens being a bit more casual about their eggs, so the headcount won’t go right back up? Maybe you can keep up with them. I really wondered what you did with so. many. eggs!