September is upon us with Labor Day weekend, and lots of people on the move. I’m busy planning the insulation of the chicken pen and installing a solar system to run the power needs of the chicken coop, which may not get finished until early October.
Let me introduce the ladies of the chicken coop who are giving me six, white eggs a day, or a dozen eggs every 2nd day. Gertrude, Josephine and Ethel, the bosses of the flock who love to explore everywhere and have no fear to work their way around the house through the flower beds, and three less adventurous girls who may go with them sometimes, but prefer to stay near the coop: Madeline, Faith and sweet Mary.
They are not pleased to be kept inside their fenced yard of late but a coon and a fox have showed up this past week. As we move into fall, I am already adjusting their daily schedule to keep them inside the coop a bit longer in the mornings, before releasing them outside to their yard. They are in and out of the coop all day long to get a drink and some grain, but quickly peck at the lettuce and swiss chard that is their daily greens from the veggie garden beside the coop. Other greens are from household vegetable and fruit peelings , with some fresh clover to add to their morning diet. It is all gone by nightfall. They receive bottled water, thing are so “organic” but really because I tested the barn water and was not pleased with the results. My nursey (RN) background makes me very conscious of health risks, and now that they are laying eggs, I am especially careful with their food and environment.
The hens settle on a roost around 8 pm as the skies darken. I come out to gather the last eggs and shut them in for the night not long after that, since I enjoy watching Murder She Wrote reruns on TV from 7 to 8 pm.
A complimentary dozen eggs goes out this month to surrounding neighbours, as I begin to introduce them to the 15 dozen I have for sale @$3.00 each. A carton of 18 eggs sells for $4.50, which I personally prefer. Free delivery locally once a week is available, and order is by email. Pickup at the house is available but not encouraged. (Since I penned these lines, all eggs are taken weekly by customers).
No brown eggs yet, since I don’t like them, but I plan to add a few brown egg layers by next March and increase the flock, having just phoned to check when ready- to- lay hens will be available. I will place an order in January if the interest is there from customer requests.
My granddaughter and her Mom arrive on Monday to meet chickens for the first time. And she is the reason I want to develop a little petting zoo of smaller farm animals. Have to build more pens and shelters.
Wait until I introduce Lorelei to the twin calves that arrived as a surprise recently. One got badly frightened the other evening and came racing into the barnyard and went under a gate into an open area to flop down in the thick grass and ‘disappear’ as night arrived. Three of us hunted with flashlights for the calf but could not find it.
I lay in bed praying for it in my anxiety that coyotes might not find her. I was up at dawn, hunting tracks and so happy to find them at that gate pointing inward to the barnyard. Yes, I found her way back with the herd and with her mother, who was barely up when I arrived on a four-wheeler to scan the cows. I was amazed at her intelligence to do that. She is a baby herself.
One gate to be lowered of course.
Monthly diary for: August – sorrow & joy