Saturday, August 07, 2010

Last Hen Standing or The Ongoing Saga of Our Attempt at Poultry Farming

I had just gotten out of the shower this afternoon when I heard Dr. Gooch yelling my name.  He needed my help.  Dr. Gooch rarely needs my help, so I threw on some clothes and rushed downstairs (although he insisted that I could perform the task naked).  

"I"m naked!!"
"That's okay!"

So I threw on some clothes (thank goodness because he was out on the front porch).  He was sitting down with the head of our last remaining hen tucked under his arm and her right wing extended and told me to clip the feathers (but not too close cause she'll feel it).

We left last Sunday for Ohio.  The hens were happy, wandering around the yard. My parents arrived back from Florida visiting this Sister on that following Monday.  There was no fowl to be found!  I don't know if I can stand this emotional roller coaster.  Is this what it's like to have teenagers?  One minute they're there happily clucking around the house and the next they've flown the coop!  Again!

We arrived back from our grand road trip up north last night.  We had just dumped the clothes out of the suitcases and the children into the tub when there was a knock at the door.  

Enter our neighbors from two doors down: a man and his daughter.  We don't know them (but now we do).  The man owns a shop here in town and the neighbor that we do know was at the shop.  

The man said, "We have a chicken!"  
The known-by-us-neighbor said, "I know whose it is!"

Which brings us once again to the front porch.  Where we discuss the chicken with the man.  Then Craig puts on quite a show for these two neighbors as he chased our hen around their yards trying to capture her.  Later we find out from the neighbor we know that the other man's daughter had lured the bird from his yard over to her back deck where she (the bird) has been gorging herself on cracked corn.  Hmm.

So, Dr. Gooch spent the evening watching youtube videos on "how to clip chicken wings" and had Seth give the first cut this afternoon.  It did not do the trick.  That chick can still fly or at least hop really high over our back fence.  So I had the privilege of giving the second clipping.  She didn't bat a comb or a wattle.

I'm so relieved that we retained at least one Rhode Island Red of the four we raised.  That makes for a small egg harvest.  Next time we'll start with 14 instead of 4.  And if you ever see me naked out on the front porch, it's only because Dr. Gooch needs my help.

*photo taken the day we left on the road trip.


Natalie at Our Old Southern House said...

free range is great...but so sad when something eats your chickens. we put ours in a chicken yard and they have a fabulous little house AND netting over the top to keep hawks out. i've seen foxes get them, and dogs, and hawks...i just couldn't take it anymore! :-)

Erin Bigler said...

We have six ducklings who are spending their first night outside. I think I'm about as nervous as I'd be if my baby girl was on her first date! And yes, I think owning backyard hobby fowl IS like having teenagers. (Though I can't be sure as my oldest is only 6).

Natalie said...

you guys are too funny! i know this is serious business, so why am i laughing. i think its craigs request. way too much like anth. hilarious.

Kurt Knudsen said...

A bird on the porch is worth two in the neighbor's yard. Glad you've clipped the clucker.

TX Girl said...

Your dad's comments always tickle me.

Poor, poor lone bird.