The Joy of Chickens

Watching the birds is now a daily activity.  A habit like someone watching the soaps on tv.  There are relationships , squabbles, fights over who sleeps where, and Roody the rooster trying to sneak up on unaware hens.  Then there are peaceful moments like this shot where they seemed to be enjoying the sunshine, preening and just being a part of nature, a pose not possibly composed by my efforts.

woods-chickens-of-union-county

The chickens are just happy go lucky critters in general…with little personalities to boot.  All five red hens are sisters… and the original flock.  Two of them are extra friendly and will squat down when you put your hand on them and let you pick them up and pet them.  They are called The Squatty Sisters. One is perfectly plump and has flawless feathers and is called “Prizey” for being the one to take to the county fair.  She doesn’t like to be messed with, but will come up to eat snacks you bring.  There is Henrietta and our newest edition is a large black hen called Isabella.  Our one and only rooster is Roody.

Here is Henrietta up close…

henrietta close up
Crossed legs…red carpet style

 

Hearing them cackle loudly in the nest when they lay an egg is really funny…its like they are hollering that “something just happened!”  They take dust baths and wallow in the driest powdery dust they can find and flutter wings and feathers to spread it all over them.  The best part of having them is collecting eggs every day, I know that if at any time there were no food in the pantry, I can always have eggs; pie, omelet, boiled egg, fried egg.  That’s nice and also the rewarding part of chicken keeping.  It helps you realize and observe circles of life and how everything in interconnected.   Chickens fertilize the garden, keep bug population down, create eggs and meat, drink rainwater, if pastured require little or no feed to upkeep,… and can reproduce more chicks in 21 to 23 days! Read  Why You Should Raise Chickens for Eggs by Rachel Falco for a short but thorough look at benefits.

big egg
A jumbo egg compared to normal

There are a thousand different scenarios in the yard every day, it’s never dull or boring to go outside and stroll…

Roody mid-crow
Roody mid-crow

Here’s one on the nest, wanting a little privacy to lay her egg of the day.  Each hen lays “about” one egg a day, some are off every day or so.

on the nest

 

They voluntarily come back to the pen at night to go to roost in the coop, no rounding up necessary. They will also come back inside the fenced pasture to rest midday and check for goodies….

yard shot

 

You can see the personality in almost every shot!

photo bomb chick
Photo Bomb!!!!!!!

 

Here’s gentle Isabella getting acquainted…….

Isabella in the clan

 

I want to encourage others to try backyard flocks and experience the simplicity of life with chickens.  Don’t forget that you do NOT have to get a rooster to have hens that lay eggs.  They all lay eggs with or without a rooster. The only difference with having a rooster is the eggs laid will be fertilized and could be incubated to hatch out.

A  day  with chickens is a day with joy, no matter what is happening in the world around.

 

 

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