Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chickens and critters

Priscilla was talking about maybe getting some chickens. I said we would need a chicken house. She said, "We've got a shed attached to the shop." I agreed the shed would make a good chicken house, but that we would need to fence in an area in front of the shop so the chickens would have access to sunlight and scratching around, as chickens do.

Momma and Daddy kept chickens when we lived near Rocky Branch, Texas. Daddy and I built a chicken house from scrap lumber and roofed it with several sheets of tin found in a barn. Daddy got some fence posts from somewhere and chicken wire and staples from a feed store. He and I put up the fence and he made a gate so we could get in and gather eggs. We had 15-20 chickens. A chicken lays an egg a day, generally. With Momma and Daddy and five kids, a dozen eggs a day for breakfast and for recipes came in handy.

We raised the chickens from chicks, but we lost some. There was a watering device that chicks sometimes fell into and drowned. And, chickens sometimes just up and die. There was a feeder, too, but when the chicks got big enough we just scattered chicken feed in the run. Daddy made nest boxes for the hens and put in straw. Hens laid eggs in the boxes.

When the chickens got older, Momma sometimes got two (one at a time) and wrung necks and plucked feathers and cut them open and removed the insides and washed them out and cut them up. She made batter and fried the chickens in bacon grease and sometimes Crisco. I can cut up a chicken, but I'd rather wring a neck and dip a chicken in boiling water and pluck feathers and gut one.

Priscilla and I could have maybe a dozen chickens. It would take a little labor to make the shed into a chicken house and put up a wire enclosure with steel posts. We would need nests, too. We're still thinking about it.

This morning Priscilla saw a coyote run up the driveway and into the woods out back. That is the first indication of coyotes here. Something else to consider.

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