Two Years Off-Grid: Chickens


Jack Fernard

Egg birds

Having learned our lesson with "The Dangers of a Straight Run," we decided to avoid the whole eight rooster scenario again and ordered ten hens — five Australorp and five Plymouth Rock. At a little over a year, we have half of our flock left (predators love chicken!).

But despite the reduced numbers, I'm happy to say we are enjoying lots of eggs — enough to share with four other families. That being said, here are a few things I hadn't read about and really wished I had known.

feeding chickens

Egg defects

It seemed like forever before we got our first egg. The event was monumental with the whole family gathered around the kitchen counter as we cracked it open. There was a moment of silence as the contents sloshed around the bowl, followed by, "That's fairly repulsive." The memory of it still gives me the shivers!

FYI, it takes a little while for the hen's plumbing to really get going. We had meat spots, we had discolored yolks, we had shell deformities of every kind imaginable. Yuck!!

6/27/2018 6:50:50 PM

Jack, Mom always had chickens around she took care of them except for the coop clean out which was my deal. If I wasn't for the Sunday fried chicken dinners, I would have said to get rid of the blessed things. They roosted in the rafters in the hog barn and, well, hogs will eat any thing. So the chicken droppings were tasty, I guess, to a hog. It made them sick and a couple even died. So if you have a porker, keep it away from the chickens. Mom finally gave up the chickens for the sake of the hogs. For that year. The next year the chickens were back and the hogs were gone. There must have been some back door deals made between Mom and Dad. I never did have the urge to raise chickens but sure like eating chicken and eggs. I'll just be one of those neighbors of yours that reaps the benefit of excess eggs. ***** Have a great chicken raising day. ***** Nebraska Dave

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