Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance

A good book is one that can't be put down. I couldn't stop reading Martin Gurdon's description of the antics, expressions, elegance, absurdity and atavism of keeping chickens in his "garden" in England.

It's edutainment -- he entertains and informs readers about the adventures of Psycho, Mrs. Brown, Satan, Wimpy and Bossy.

My hen-talk buddy Denali picked it up at the library and it's available online, too. Martin is a good storyteller and a better chicken keeper than I will ever be.

Martin views his birds as pets who produce eggs. I will view my birds egg producers who live in my chicken coop.He regularly took his birds to the veterinarian. My birds will live by the doctrine: survival of the fittest.

I've finally decided how and when to get birds. As soon as the coop is built and fence erected, I'm buying 15-week old Rhode Island Reds and Araucanas raised on a nearby family farm. They will produce eggs within a month. Rhode Island Reds are hearty and Araucanas produce green eggs.

Like spouses, there's no perfect breed. Some are heartier and easier to live with.
Getting them at 15 weeks eliminates the nursery stage. Chicks are cute, but my four children exhausted my broodiness.

Denali and Bernadette will adopt Speckled Sussex and Wyandotte chicks in June, by mail order, nurse them through infancy and wait 6 months for eggs. With a renewed interest in chicken keeping, there's a higher than usual demand for some breeds.

"You'll have chick envy when we get our babies," Denali said.
"You'll have egg envy when my birds start producing eggs," I said.

I'm psyched. Even psycho! My chicken advent is almost over. The adventURE is about to begin. Does anyone have thoughts on the breeds we've chosen?

1 comment:

  1. WHy do you call it an adventURE?
    Also, your breed choices have changed...