Monday, November 10, 2008

home on the free (?) range

Free range chickens. You think you're so natural and eco-friendly -- tossing your corn, strewing your hay, gathering your eggs. So many eggs -- you give them away! And the surprise chicks are adorable, aren't they?

Flash forward. Going on 20 chickens, all but three of which are hens, laying eggs everywhere but the coop and roosting in the trees. They're still great garbage disposals -- between them, the rabbit, and the compost, not a scrap of food is ever really wasted. But when there are so many, it's hard to think of them as pets, and when you're not willing to eat grocery store eggs anymore, but you're not gathering any, either -- well, not a lotta egg eatin' goin' on. Which is kind of a bummer.

Our neighbor Mister Sanders says they'll come back to the coop in the spring. And he's probably right -- most chickens don't lay much in the fall and winter. And after the sadness that accompanied the death of our first Rooster, Eddie, I was tickled when the new roosters, hatched in the summer, began crowing for the very first time just last week. A feeble but noble attempt, growing stronger each day. No better sound in the world to wake up to.

So we strategize. We make plans to lure the chickens into the coop and create a chicken run, so that they have limited freedom but also no choice but to lay where we can find the eggs. Because as much as I love having them roam about, the romance is over, and I want mine scrambled, thank you very much.


sunvarmit said...

important point:

Our neighbor is Mister Sanders....not Colonel Sanders.

countrypeapie said...

Well, as far as we know....