The ups and downs of country living can be challenging and entertaining.
You can get down and dirty, mucking around with chicken poop clean up and other related fun. Or, you can be a country squire, enjoy the shelled emissions of said chickens without actual direct contact.
This writer shuns interaction with the chickens proclaiming herself a country squire. What she did not count on but should have was her filter-free, sassy daughter’s comment. “Mother, a country squire is a male landowner or a gentleman who escorts a woman.”
“Well then, I’m the lady of the manor,” her mother huffed. “In either case, the only time I enjoy playing in the dirt is in my flower garden.”
Folks claim that chicken falls in the healthy food category, but aside from the surface flavoring on a cooked chicken, the internal taste is too bland for this lady of the manor. Consequently, the only part of said fowl she enjoys eating are the eggs.
Hubby has forty chicken, five of them are roosters. Part of the reason for the abundance of roosters is Hubby’s impatience. He ordered Ameraucana because they lay blue eggs and Rhode Island Reds because they lay brown eggs. However, the chicken coop was ready for feathered occupation.
So, Hubby went to a local farm supply store and bought ten chicks of unknown breed and gender. By the time the shipped chickens and the can’t-wait-that-long chicks reached an age where their sex could be determined, he ended up with five roosters of various lineage.
Before the young roosters hit puberty, their early vocalizing attempts sounded more like a creaky door hinge that crowing. Fortunately, our house is well-insulated, and we do not hear the buggers carrying on, but outdoors is another matter.
Have you ever wondered why roosters crow? Hubby’s answer: they are trying to attract a hen. With thirty-something hens and five roosters, that should not be a problem. A personal theory: the rooster crows after the act, a celebration of a job well done (the fowl version of chest-beating).
Whenever we approach the chicken coop, all the inmates stop whatever they were doing and come to see what treats or offerings we bring. Sometimes as a treat we toss them scratch (a scattering of various grains), or we refill their feeder, but other times we go to collect eggs. Whatever the reason for our visit, it turns out that fowl are curious creatures. Too bad there is no YouTube to keep them entertained when the humans are not around. After all, there are cable networks dedicated to infant viewership. Why not for farm critters?
Due to the mix of unknown breeds living in the coop, the eggs are brown, beige (or taupe if you want to be fancy), white, and blue. At this point, the brown eggs are most abundant. As more hens come of age, the egg production increases. If you want eggs, we will be happy to email them to you.
Hubby often finds empty egg shells or partially broken eggs on the floor or in the nests. It seems one of the roosters developed a taste for fresh eggs. Could the cannibal rooster be suffering from too many rejections and retaliating? Do we need to hire a rooster shrink? Cannibalism among chickens is a new wrinkle in the lady of the manor’s fowl learning curve. She assumed the practice was more for isolated island humans or crocodiles. Oh well, we learn something new each day.
Hubby suggested we kill a few of the roosters and eat them. Feel free to imagine the countless languages the lady shrieked no.
Following collection of the cackleberries (Hubby’s term), the lady of the manor washes them before refrigeration. Yes, if the eggs are unwashed, they will last several weeks on the counter. However, if you think about the fact that those cackleberries are large, shell-covered excretions, then you know this writer will not tolerate boxes of poop on her kitchen counters, shells notwithstanding.
In the future, should the lady of the manor attempt to collect eggs or attend to the cluckers’ other needs, she will wear disposable gloves, and perhaps a mask.
Humor Books: Fractured Proverbs and Twisted Thoughts; Through the Keyhole