Saturday, May 22, 2010

I am now an offical Chicken Rancher

My life this week has been a very intense series of ups and downs.  

Let's see; we could talk about the weather.  Gorgeous, sunny, almost eighty degrees one day, and lows in the upper thirties, with hail and 30 mph wind gusts the next.  If I may quote one of my favorite comedians, Dwight Slade, "Oregon weather is like living with a psychotic roommate.  You never know what to expect from one day to the next."  

We shut off the natural gas for the season, (it's supposed to be Spring right?), and my little space heater went to where ever space heaters go when they die. (Actually, it's still sitting by the front door, because I don't want it to go into the landfill, but I still have not figured out a way to recycle it.)  So, I am heating the front part of the house right now, with my oven.  It works surprisingly well.  Although, let me give you a word of advice: don't turn it on past 400 degrees or whatever crumbs that might be in the bottom of the oven may catch on fire.  I'm just sayin'.

Then the other day I arrived home from school to find a salmon colored chicken coop sitting in the middle of my driveway.  I asked the people next door who were standing around gawking at it if they knew where it had come from.  They said a blond chick in a maroon pick up with a giant dark haired kid in tow, had dropped it off.  Ah-ha!  That explains it.  Thanks, Sonja.

I had told her that I wanted to raise a few chicken for eggs (I am still not a vegan.).  I'd been trolling Craiglist for a coop for months now, since I am, and neither is the hubby very handy with a hammer and nail with which to make our own.  And yes, I found some very nice coops out there, but I was not prepared to spend $150-$300 on a chicken coop.  Anyway, she found this one for ten bucks and decided to surprise me with it since she couldn't get a hold of me.  

Eugene is a very liberal town and the law says that I can have 3 hens and no roosters.  Well, guess what?  My little square of Kimberly-land is actually county, so I got four just to be persnickety and because I can, little bantam Pekings. They are so cute.  They look kinda cool with the feathers on their feet.  It looks like they are wearing booties.

So anyway, I chose these girls because they were only $2 a piece on Craigslist.  You wouldn't believe the amount of money people are asking for chickens lately.  Upwards of $20 a piece for pullets!  I just got lucky that they are a really neat breed.  They only grow to be about half the size of regular chickens, and they are very people friendly.  The hubby wanted one that would eventually follow him around, and I think he found the one.  One of the white ones actually has curly feathers, they call it "frizzled".  Of course this is the one that jumped right into his hand when he held it out.  This it what it will look like in a few weeks.
Anyway, I have no clue what I am doing, so I thank God every day for the Internet and my not-really-that-great-but-my-husband-falls-for-it acting abilities.  He is more nervous than I about raising these girls, but I have convinced him that I have everything under control.  I am also very thankful that Sonja has already been through the "trial and error" period, when she raised her flock a few years ago.

I worried about them all night the first night we got them.  The next day I was talking to Sonja about it, and she put it into perspective.  "Are they alive?" she asked me.  "Yes." I said.  "Then your doing fine." she pronounced.  Well, it might not seem like much to you, but I felt much better after that.  I will keep everyone updated on our progress in the continuing saga.  And I think I need a name for my ranch.

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