Does the old adage “If one is good, two is better” really apply to chickens? With the relevant modifications that apply to our house the saying would be “If four chickens are good, then certainly eleven are better”. That’s right, eleven. Just shy of a dozen (due to a shipping error that left two chicks behind) chickens who should all be pumping out eggs come mid-summer. Stay tuned for future posts outlining all kinds of creative uses for the ovi.
Our first four chickens came to us as full grown, productive fowl. This new batch came to use fresh from the egg – literally. Although the hatchery was kind enough to remove any leftover shell fragments, they shipped the chicks to us at the tender age of one. As in one day. Visualize a box of marshmallow peeps that really are peeping and you start getting an idea of how small they were upon arrival.
And if getting hens via Priority Mail isn’t enough to boggle the mind, consider the life of the young rooster chicks. When you order your hens online (yeah, just like the grandparents did!) there is a disclaimer stating that they may send some roosters in the box as well to keep the hens warm. But don’t worry, the roosters will be clearly marked so as not to be confused with the hens.
Let’s just take a minute to think through that again. We ordered nine hens. The box we got had seven hens and ten roosters (we’ll forgive the shipping department’s bad math for the moment). The roosters all had purple dye on their heads to identify them – not exactly in the same league as a Scarlett A, pink triangle or gold star – but an identifier of their outcast status nonetheless. The dye makes sense since you can’t exactly put a brand on them nor is there an obvious sign of gender. This is all good and fine, and somewhat weird, until you step back an realize that to the hatchery, the roosters are the equivalent of a production by-product. Stranger still, they realized that this waste product can be pawned off on the customers as “packing material”. Think about it. We didn’t want roosters, and neither does anyone else since they make too much noise and you can’t have them in the city limits. The hatchery would be up to their eyeballs in roosters in no time so off they go with the hens.
Fortunately for us, we found someone who actually wanted, and could have, baby roosters. After Junior said his good-byes to the boys we delivered them to their new home. That leaves us with seven chicks that grow remarkably fast.
The new hens have taken up residency in their temporary home which resides in the house. They’ll be there until they get all their feathers (about 6 weeks) and then they move to the new Gucci-coop. Three or four months later the eggs should start coming and coming and coming.
Four is good, eleven should be better, but twenty-one was clearly too many.