Relocating The Ladies (4354-4359)

Two years ago I started a chicken coop co-op with three other households. It has been a tremendous success and I highly recommend raising layer chickens to anyone who has a bit of space and the support of some neighbors.

By having four households involved, we are each responsible taking care of the chickens one week out of every month. This amounts to about five minutes a day and 10 on the weekend.

We “buy” eggs from the co-op for $2 a dozen which is not bad for humanely raised free-range chickens. No matter what it says on the carton, no grocery store egg comes from humanely raised chickens. Our chickens are cared for, truly.

In the summer we usually have more eggs than we can use. Lately though, the egg production has been tapering off. Chickens produce less eggs as they pass the two-year mark and instead of swimming in eggs, we’ve had to make due with much less.

We decided it was time to freshen our flock and purchased day-old chicks several months ago. My neighbor offered to raise the chicks with her kids. Having done it the first time, I know all too well how the little yellow puff-balls go from being adorable and mesmerizing to smelly and far too large for their enclosure. I was happy to let her do the honors.

After two months of raising the chicks she wanted them out of her house, and also understood why I proposed purchasing mature layers from the local 4-H club in the Fall.

My kids have a fondness for a couple of chickens but I’ve been careful to remind them that the chickens serve a purpose. In return we provide them with fresh air, clean water, good food (with plenty of freshies) space, protection, and time to free-range. And one day we will need to get new chickens. I never sugar-coat where our food comes from so they were prepared for me to kill the chickens, but they didn’t want to know how or when.

I promised that it would be quick and I wouldn’t let them suffer or be scared. I talked pretty big about doing the job myself but as push came to shove I realized I was reticent to do the deed. Everyone was. Instead I posted the hens on Freecycle and was delighted to see how quickly people clamored to snap them up.

Natalie and her son showed up with several cat carriers to pick up six birds. She lost her entire flock to a predator and was happy to have replacements. My hens may be too old to be “working girls” but they will do a fine job keeping Natalie’s goats company.

8 thoughts on “Relocating The Ladies (4354-4359)

  1. I love it that you do this!
    So are the new ones in the hutch now and out of your neighbors home? What age do they start laying?

    • The girls have been introduced and they are in the process of sorting out the pecking order now that several of the senior members are gone. It’s not very much fun to watch but that’s what chickens do. They usually start laying around 12 weeks. It’s a fun time, lots of funny shaped eggs and double yolkers!

  2. Oh, that’s awesome that Natalie took the chickens. I read the whole blog with the foreboding of “how” you were going to kill the chickens and “if” you could. I don’t think I could ever do it. I would just be a crying hot mess. Don’t you have to snap the neck or something? The co-op idea is totally cool though! I love your life. 😉

    • You can snap the neck, but chopping the head off is really the best way. It’s very fast and they feel no pain. Look at me talk about it, like I’ve actually done it.

      I begged Shawn to do it when he came over the other day but he was more interested in challenging me to a battle on the pole. Fucker. I’m more pleased with the ultimate outcome so all’s well that ends well.

      The coop co-op is the only way to go. It’s not that much work, a dozen birds is no more effort than 3 (which is all a single family would need) and going out of town and finding someone to cover for me is a snap. I couldn’t do it any other way.

      I love it that you experienced some “suspense” in reading my blog. I am truly honing my craft! I don’t know if you would love the reality of my life. Just about every woman I know who actually knows all the details/stresses of living this “artistic” life says, “I would never be able to deal with it.” It is excellent fodder for my blog, though.

  3. I also purchase my eggs from a neighbor who owns chickens. I’m vegan, but my dog gets a raw egg every day

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