chickens

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Anyone keeping track of the economy knows these can be precarious times when it comes to housing. Here today, gone tomorrow. Well, to stretch the parameters a bit, that goes for chickens too.

Our laying hens, all 26 of them, were evicted from their cozy home this week to make room for the new chicks. After a hard day of egg laying and pecking mites in the upper chicken run, the girls had just settled into their henhouse for the evening when Rebecca and Louisa appeared, armed with a pair of shears. Louisa clipped the outer feathers off each hen’s right wing. It doesn’t hurt–it’s kind of like getting a haircut, but no doubt more traumatic–and it keeps them grounded on their new turf.

And then the farmers packed the hens into carriers and toted them off to new digs on the lower pasture. All in all it went pretty smoothly–for the farmers at least. 

The move went from here:

Old hen house

To here on the lower pasture.

New hen house

From a chicken’s point of view–which, admittedly, we lack–the change probably wasn’t such a bad deal. There’s lots of grass around the new place and plenty of bugs to scratch up. We didn’t see much change in the egg-laying so the girls have probably adapted.

But from another perspective, nobody likes being booted out of their comfy old house, especially with a winter in the offing that everyone seems to think will be extra cold and wet. That new place looks a lot like a gypsy wagon to us, and kind of drafty even with the Astroturf Louisa used to line the laying boxes.

Plus, getting evicted for a bunch of youngsters can’t do an ego much good, even if that ego belongs to a chicken. You just know those hens spent their first night in the gypsy wagon grumbling about how they are the productive ones and the unfairness of it all.

Life on a farm does sometime mirror the larger world in strange ways. People are losing their homes all around us these days through no fault of their own. Likewise, they get pushed down the pecking order without so much as a say-so on their own behalf. Someone else always gets to make the big decisions, it seems.

We’ve been fortunate in what for too many folks has been a season of trial. We’ve still got the farm, plenty to eat, and more demand than we can satisfy for what we grow. Nobody has come out of the blue to boot us out of our home and our wings remain intact. No Astroturf, but then nobody’s expecting us to lay an egg every day either.

Makes you appreciate Thanksgiving.

Persephone

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