How It All Began: Chicken Trouble
Have you ever made a decision and began an adventure that completely changed your life? It sort of began like that for us here at Whispering Winds Farm.
The little project that we started was chickens. It was one of those innocent little things that you do to make your kids happy. I knew I was going to be in a bit of trouble when "Dad" saw them. I even told the kids, "I am going to be in sooo much trouble." But, their happy, little, beaming faces caused me to throw caution (and fear) to the wind. My husband was completely not happy when I came home from our local farm and home store with that little cardboard box.
"Just two chicks," I told him. "We are going to study them for one year as a home school project." I quickly followed with, "we will be learning the life cycle, have fresh eggs, and at the end of the year we will have them butchered." I continued on, pleading my case with fervor, explaining that we could raise them in the rabbit hutch that we already had and enclose a small area in the backyardgarden to help keep down the bugs. (More on that wise decision later!)
He is really a good sport and of course wants only the best for our children's education. So Fluffy and Precious moved right in and joined the family. That was in February. We waited all Summer for those first eggs. Come September we were practically busting. The anticipation was tantalizing and agonizing all the same. Finally, we found that first wet, little sand paper egg. The shells are soft at first because the mineral vent has not opened and dropped calcium down on the first few eggs. It was a wonder we didn't strut around clucking with pride. In October, after visiting family on their farm, nine little Bantychickens joined them. It was wonderful living the country life!
Wait, did I mention that we lived in town?! Yes, we did. Our neighbors tolerated us and did not turn us in. Later on, they even bought some of our "farm fresh" eggs. I also failed to mention that, the same day I bought my two chicks, I phoned the other homeschool mom I know in town. I mean, everybody needs a partner in crime right? The call went something like this, "Hi Cathy, I am here at the farm and home store, and we are getting some chickens for school. Do you want some too?" (Like, I always go to the store and pick up chicks.) Her response was, "What! Your getting chickens?" I casually said, "Yeah, as a homeschooling project. How many do you want?" After we discussed the available breeds she purchased four4 hens and a little rooster. I carted them home consoling myself with the thought that I was not in nearly as much trouble as she was going to be! It was then that I purchased my first book on chickens.
By now, you have almost certainly learned that I did not grow up on a farm. I did not visit my grandparents and spend summers on their lovely country farmstead playing with their chickens. I had not actually ever touched a chicken in person. I simply did not know anything about them. I soon came to love them and the little bit of the farm life that they could offer me and my family.
I no longer living in town. We bought a lovely little farm with a proper chicken house. We now have 58, and briefly last year, we had 120. I know a lot about chickens now, and we even sell our eggs to a chain grocery store. We average about 12 dozen eggs every four days.
I will introduce you to some of our other critters next time.