Monday, February 22, 2010
Everyone Should Have Chickens ...
This evening, thanks to the Practical Farmers of Iowa e-mail list, we were able to add forty chickens to our simple flock (which prior to this had only six members). As you can imagine this is quite an addition! These chickens are all Red Star's and we were able to get them free because they were spent hens (using that word loosely because he was still getting about 28 eggs per day, just not enough for profit margins). The farmer needed room for his new flock coming in, so these needed to head off the farm quickly ... that's where I came into the equation!
Hopefully we'll get a few eggs, but that wasn't the main reason for getting them. We have been hoping to get some spent hens before this coming summer to follow our cattle out on the pasture. They do a good job cleaning up the bugs and larvae in the cow patties and help break parasite cycles. I think it was Joel Salatin who said that it would be worth it to have a flock of mean old roosters following the cows because of the job they do even if it meant replacing them every year. Now, we'll have some chickens to follow along and probably get some eggs.
These girls are set up in the shed next to the cows and are already exploring their new little kingdom. Between the cows mooing and the chickens clucking it really is starting to sound like a good old fashioned barn! Which got me to thinking ... everyone should have some chickens around if they can. They are beautifully simple and mesmerizing to watch ... their simple cluck can be very soothing ... the way the move and flap around at times is just hilarious ... and, they are even fun to hold and catch! That's just my little public service announcement encouraging everyone to get chickens. If your town allows (unlike ours) they even make great additions to the backyard, but if nothing else find a friend or family member in the country and see if you can't have a little flock out at their place.