Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birds of a Feather

When we ordered our first batch of chickens, we did some research and selected the breeds so that they would be good egg layers, friendly to children and tolerant to cold. But then we ended up with these two extra chicks from a school classroom that had hatched eggs and couldn't raise the chickens afterwards. No one knew what breed of chickens they were, and we are certainly no experts. As they grew, we laughed at the fact that one of them was so small and one so big, compared to our other selected chickens. When the big white one started having trouble walking and didn't seem motivated to forage in the yard with the others, we started googling chicken breeds and came to the conclusion that this was a Cornish Cross. These are the typical chickens that are raised on big farms, the kind of meat you buy at the grocery store. They were bred to get big way too fast and to have less feathers for plucking. So they end up with lots of health problems and really aren't meant to live long or lay eggs. So our first chicken slaughter is coming up sooner than we expected. This chicken should make for a tasty meal, but I am feeling sorry for its little partner (which we think is a Bantam, a mini-chicken). When the newcomers were introduced to the coop, the other, older chickens shunned them. They sleep in a corner and don't socialize at all with the original hens. It's okay now, because they have each other, but I'm just hoping that once Big White is gone, the Little One will find her place. I know it's kind of silly to feel so sentimental for a chicken, but I can't help it. I'm rather fond of them.

On the same note, our formerly suspected rooster is now most definitely so. A couple of days ago, we heard his first crow, and this morning he hollered all through our breakfast. So he's got to go as well. Looks like we have more than one chicken dinner in our future.

We've also been harvesting from the garden. I noticed our spinach trying to go to seed last week, so Porter and I picked the lot of it. Four pounds! We just now managed to polish it off, I'm lucky that the kids will eat it too.

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