More Chicken Tales…

Our second flock of chickens

Our second flock of chickens

After the fiasco with 50 roosters, you’d think that we’d had enough of chickens…but no, we hadn’t.  My daddy always liked chickens, too, and he got us more chickens from some people that he knew.  He decided that Brandy needed some chickens to grow up with…

We had black chickens, red chickens, and spotted chickens.  I know that the red chickens were called “rhode island reds” and the spotted chickens were “dominickers”, but I don’t remember what the black ones were called.  We had several hens and just a rooster or two to begin with.

The hens laid eggs, sat on them and hatched baby chicks.  We enjoyed watching the hens with the little chicks following them.  Then our problems began again…

First of all, for some reason when a hen hatches baby chicks from her eggs, more of them turn out to be roosters than hens.  You know that you are in trouble from the start!  Pretty soon, there are three roosters to each hen and that just won’t work.  The old roosters fight with the new roosters, the poor hens get humped to death by roosters (trying to fertilize her eggs), and everybody ends up in bad shape. 

By then, we didn’t have a dog anymore, but we still had plenty of chicken eating varmits in the woods around our house.  Sometimes the varmits were smart enough to break into the chicken house at night.  There were many nights that I’d hear the chickens cackling and wake Ed to go and see about them.  Finally, one night Ed just wouldn’t get up and see what was after those poor chickens.  I couldn’t stand to hear them crying for help and not do anything, so I got the rifle and went outside.  When I got outside I saw a raccoon running away and shot at it!  That woke Ed up and he came to see what was going on, because I never shoot a gun!

Some of the hens  made nests under our house in the tires that were removed from our mobile home.  In the middle of the night we’d hear a fuss and some varmit would’ve found the setting hen and raided her nest.  That’s what happened to one of our rhode island red hens.  She survived the attack, but her feathers were all gone and she looked terrible.  I nicknamed her “Rags”, and she became sort of a pet.  “Rags” hung around the house and would even go in the house if she got a chance.  She liked to walk in, look around, then stroll back outside, but she never stayed long enough to poop, thank goodness!

We had a black hen that had a nightly encounter with something that ate a hole in the side of her neck.  She survived the attack, but whenever she ate the corn would fall out of the hole.  Ed decided to go to the hospital and get a sucher kit and sew up the hole, which he did with the help of a good friend.  Our friend held the hen and Ed sewed her up.  She did fine until something else caught her and ate her!

We had a few lucky hens that actually managed to hatch baby chicks without getting attacked.  I loved to watch the hens with their babies.  On occasion I’ve watched in horror as a hawk swooped down from the sky and stole a baby from it’s mother.  I still hate hawks to this day!

Understandably, our chickens began to refuse to sleep in the chicken house.  I guess they thought they’d take their chances outside.  They began to sleep in a large tree in the backyard.  It wasn’t safe there either, a raccoon found them in the tree–a three legged raccoon at that!  After that,  late one evening I witnessed an owl sitting on the clothesline pole trying to catch himself a chicken, and he succeeded!  It was a never ending problem with varmits.

We eventually ended up with a lot more roosters than hens, of course.  The roosters were constantly fighting, crowing, and the few hens that we had left had no feathers left on their backs.  I felt I had no choice but to order an execution of some of the roosters.  I know that is terrible, but we couldn’t catch them because they slept in trees!  Brandy and I hid inside while Ed killed the roosters.  My parents happened to drive up in our yard during the execution.  Daddy said he didn’t know whether to get out of the car or turn around and run!  He thought the sight of mild- mannered Ed out in the yard shooting at roosters was sort of funny and he laughed about that for years afterward…

Eventually the last  of our chickens disappeared, despite our best efforts.  We decided that it just wasn’t worth the fight.  I was especially glad to see the last roosters gone, because of their crowing.  I dont’ know how they could tell when we were sleeping, but they were notorious for crowing and waking us up–even from a nap!  I missed the hens, but to the roosters I said, “good riddance!”

Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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