The Chickens

In light of the fact we’ve lost one two chickens to a fox recently one on the fourth and one today while I was home, Wolf and I have decided to slaughter the chickens. I know it may seem a little weird to kill the chickens and not the fox so let me explain.

We were planning all along to slaughter the chickens at daylight savings time. I didn’t really want to worry about them over the winter so we got dual purpose birds. Since the fox now knows there’s three two more meals we know she’ll come back. We can’t be here every minute of every day to protect the chickens, and besides, my screaming at the fox hasn’t deterred her from hunting here on Howling Hill. Keeping them locked up in the coop isn’t an option because I refuse to treat my chickens like KFC does.

So next week Wolf is I am taking them up to the Gitch’s for slaughter today. We’ll have some nice chicken to eat later in the year.

Next year we’ll be better prepared. First, as I stated, we’re going to put in a fence and bury it two feet into the ground. We may electrify it but I’m not sure (I’m concerned for the increase in the electric bill). Second, we’re going to get more birds, probably eight. While having more will certainly increase the likelihood of predators it won’t be so devastating to lose one or two. After all, by losing one bird this year, we lost 1/4 of our flock. Losing two means we’ve lost half the flock.

What I’m finding is this whole farming thing has a steep learning curve. We were naive to think we could free range four chickens. Doreen from Gitch’s Farm has probably 50 birds (ducks, geese, chickens, roosters) so she doesn’t lose many because the racket her farm makes when one a predator comes onto the property. Besides, since she has roosters, they protect their harem to the death. We don’t have any sort of warning like she does nor do we have a rooster.

I’m thinking of adding a rooster next year, letting him impregnate some of the chickens, then having rooster soup. I’d like to start from chicks but can’t keep them in the house because of the cats. There isn’t a place where I can lock the cats away from the chicks which is why we got full grown chickens this year.

Any suggestions?

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6 Responses to The Chickens

  1. AZ says:

    Three years ago, we had 18 chickens. We had a coop and a henyard that was fenced in but the weasels and such still managed to get in a polish off the chickens one at a time. It was very sad, and I still really miss them. They all had names and personalities, and we were getting about a dozen eggs a day!

  2. farm mom says:

    Build a run, and fence them in when you’re gone. When you’re home, and out in the yard, free range them. And get a rooster. We have a fox family living near us, as well as possums, feral cats and racoons sometimes living on the property and we’ve never lost a bird to predation yet.

  3. Howling Hill says:

    AZ: You put a tear in my eye. I almost cried when we lost Buffalo then Noodle Soup. But to lose all 18? I’d be a weepy mess!

    Farm mom: It seems that’s the route I’m going to go. I really didn’t want a rooster but I can’t see a way out of it. Let me ask this: If the rooster gets eaten, do I just get another? Will the chickens accept another male in the flock? Or will they feel like they’re cheating on their dead husband?

  4. farm mom says:

    LOL! Well, I’m not an expert here, because I’ve never been in the situation before, but I imagine the hens will accept another man in their lives as long as he’s of age. (Don’t put a younger, smaller one in with them, he’ll be low man on the totem poll and picked at constantly.) I’ve read that alot of people who have hens and no roos (especially if they have had a roo in their lives prior) miss them so much they really start putting the moves on their humans! I’ve also heard that they lay better with a roo companion, but I have no idea whether that’s true or not. What’s the objection to a roo, if you don’t mind my asking?

  5. Howling Hill says:

    Farm Mom: my objection is the noise they create. But I think I’ll have to get over myself =)

    Thanks for the great info. All good to know for next year.

  6. Pingback: Chickens! « Howling Hill

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