Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Self-Sustainability Takes Patience....we won't starve

We won't starve!
   Okay, well maybe that's a little over the top but after 28 weeks of waiting two of the five hens are finally laying eggs every day.
The Steel Magnolia gals and supposedly one guy, Drum, came to me on a very cold March morning as tiny little fluffs of fuzz and feet. I can remember saying to myself "how in the world will they survive?"
I don't dare calculate how much money is invested in chick grower feed. They always were a messy little bunch of fluff. It didn't take much to tip over or get into their feed somehow. They were really good at tipping their water over no matter what it weighed. I think there was a Superman vitamin in that feed because they grew by leaps and bounds overnight.
In mid-April they were moved into a small coop that I bought at Tractor Supply. Ha! Like that was going to work. It didn't take Clairee, Weezer, M'Lynn and Truvy plus Drum to outgrow that space. Oh and let us not forget to mention that what I thought was a Shelby was actually Roo 2. Yep, now we had two roosters. A few short weeks after moving them to the small coop we knew we had to give them a bigger home. Too many hawks, foxes and coyotes live in our area so it was going to have to be an enclosed coop with a big pen. Enter the teenagers! Thanks to them and a weekend or so of work we converted a playhouse that I won with a two dollar raffle ticket in 2003 we had us a secure place for the babies to go.
Then about the end of May the impatience set in. I wanted eggs. The gals had a great place that was warm, dry and secure. It was summer time and they were suppose to start laying. Check the chicken care book.  By the way if you are new to raising chickens I highly recommend Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. There is not a question asked that they don't answer. And according to them I should have eggs in a few weeks. Well, it did take a little longer than a few weeks. The first Monday of August I checked the nesting box as I always do not expecting much. But, look! There it was THE FIRST EGG. The angels sang and Heaven sent down a sunbeam to shine upon the new, freshly laid egg. Cue the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And every day after that right on schedule one egg was laid.  ONE? Wait, doesn't she have four hens? Uh, yes I do. So? Um, well, the rest seemed to be lagging behind a tad bit. Thinking that possibly two roosters was one too many disturbing the peacefulness of the flock, Roo 2 was dispatched outside the coop. He is doing nicely with this arrangement and it has been more peaceful. That was about two weeks ago. I lamented that the other three hens even knew where the nesting box was. So, being the good chicken mama I was, I took the uninformed into the coop and sat them in the nest thinking it would trigger a laying hormone or something. And so two weeks went on by until this past Sunday. Yes, finally, there were two eggs in the nest. That meant someone got the idea . There are still two hens that haven't laid any eggs yet, but I do have hope that before weather turns chilly and the days get shorter that Weezer and Truvy get the idea to give us some more eggs.  But, with two eggs a day, we won't starve. Self-sustainability does take a little time and patience though.
Michele Brown is the owner of Possum Creek Herb Farm and the mistress of her one acre homestead in southeast TN. When she isn't growing herbs and updating websites, she is coaching her chickens to keep up the good work.