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.


8 comments:

MFamily said...

I sooo want to get chickens... except our yard has got some BIG dogs in the back - I think it might scare them away.

TCavanaugh said...

Wow! I did not know about chickens with cows! Keep us posted how it goes...I have always hated the dander that poultry gives off. The trade off of bug eating might be worth it.

~Sara said...

I just ordered my first batch of chicks due to arrive the end of March. I can't wait!

goatlady said...

I just wanted to say thank you for taking in them chickens. At least the last years of their life they will be able to roam around, wether they lay a bunch of eggs or not. I have chickens and they have a house but get to go where ever their hearts desire.

Charlie Roy said...

I've heard spent hens are often used as soup meat for soups involving chicken. Any truth to that?

Rough Rider said...

Spent hens are great for stewing! Use a crock pot and time is the key. We raised 100 last year. I'm still an aspiring farmer with no land of my own, but as you suggested, Ethan, we use a friends place in the country. We raised them on pasture out there, butchered them, and sold them all. We're looking forward to another God blessed year and trusting Him to let this little venture take off!

Eddie said...

Grew up with chickens and don't care to ever see another one again. They used to fly in my face and those stupid roosters woud chase me all over. That was chid abuse.

Charlie Roy said...

@ Rough Rider
Thanks for the comment on spent hens.

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