0E Some Replies Actually Arrive

August 22, 2007

On August 13, stevo wrote:

Perhaps you could reach some sort of truce with the rabbits? Or make them your minions?

The problem is the fleas. They do not understand the meaning of peaceful co-existence.

On August 17, Pete wrote (among other interesting thoughts):

If you are going to buy an air rifle, consider a few things: The scope is really nice but not necessary. Just be sure the sights are adjustable. Also the feeding of it. You can get ones that you can load a bunch of pellets in at once (Very convenient) but they are more prone to jam. The single feed ones are less convenient but there is no action to jam. a pellet pistol will only be accurate at close range, and rabbits are generally not known to let you get close.

Your comments (and Cameron’s) are pertinent, and as I continue my hunting tale I will tell some interesting things about fast and slow moving rabbits.

On August 17, Jenny wrote:

My mom took the boys and I to visit her very elderly grade school teacher, Miss Ida. A delightful woman, full of life and humor, she told us about her chickens and how much she loved them. One morning, she went to the coop to gather eggs and saw a snake, a vile enemy of Miss Ida and her hens. The boys hold Miss Ida in great esteem after she told them how she saw that the snake had swallowed an egg and she wrestled the snake, squeezed the egg back out of its mouth and then killed the snake! The morale of this comment… don’t mess with a woman and her hens! You’ve been warned.

We have a lot of garter snakes in our garden, and Mrs. Random is very fond of them. I kind of doubt they prey on chicken eggs, but we will have to see.

Pete also posted:

The chickens actually have a little personality, too. The one bummer is they are hard to sex when they are one day old, and sometimes you end up with a rooster when you don’t want one. A good example of when you don’t want one is 5:00am when it is crowing. The roosters are always the most attractive, too (If there is such a thing…) And if you have lots of coyotes and raccoons you might find dead mauled chickens from time to time. I finally built a cage with a wire roof that seems to do the trick nicely. We go for the Anaconda’s (Likely wrong spelling), also known as Americana’s (Not to be confused with coffee drink.) They lay blue eggs, which is quite handy come Easter time. Also chickens make great fertilizer. They run free in our garden all fall/winter/spring when there are no crops. The soil is always good to go the next planting. So I say go for it and get a few, at least three, in case you decide to get rid of an unwanted rooster.

I rambled a lot to make up for the months it has been since I posted to your blog!

When I was in high school in Wisconsin, I had a crush on a girl named Delores, who played trumpet in the marching band. (As I was such a dork at that age, the crush never went anywhere, as she later joined the Marines, which was very unusual for a young woman to do in the 1950s. If I had gotten fresh, she probably would have beaten me up.) In any case, one summer she got a job as a chicken sexer. A local farmer sold baby chicks to research laboratories for medical experiments. Depending on the experiment, the purchaser sometimes needed boy chicks (so to speak) and sometimes needed chick chicks. Delores’ job was to examine each chick closely and then put it into the boy chick crate or the girl chick crate so they would be shipped to the proper mad scientist. When I saw her at school the following fall, Delores told me she had become very weary of looking closely at chicken private parts. (As far as I know, roosters do not have a Playrooster magazine for looking at improper centerfolds of chicks.)

Some of the organic farmers on the island make what they call chicken tractors. These are chicken cages on wheels. They move the chickens to one part of a garden that has lots of weeds. The chickens spend the day scratching the ground and eating the weeds without being able to get at the food plants. That part of the garden has then been weeded and sort of plowed.

Cameron wrote on August 18th:

We have a few friends with chickens who bring eggs to church each Sunday. You truly can tell the difference in the size and quality of eggs. I don’t know anyone who regrets having a few chickens. Start thinking on names for your soon-to-be new arrivals.

Maybe I will assign Random Granddaughter the job of naming the chickens to be.

On August 18th, Vicky wrote:

We have 6 chickens at the moment. Enough to keep us ,as well as a few other families, in eggs.

I cannot even think of eating eggs from the store anymore, but I don’t especially care for the chickens.

Our grandson (5) thinks they’re great and he collects their eggs everytime he’s here. Otherwise, my husband does it.

Last year, RG visited a farm with us, and saw the farmer’s wife milk a goat and gather an egg from under a chicken. She was rather intimidated by the whole experience, but after she names our chickens, she may be better able to deal with it. Also, she will probably be four years old by then, and it may be that four-year-olds are mature enough to deal with chickens and their eggs.

On the same date, David Rochester wrote:

After all the comments, I’m jealous that I don’t have room to keep hens. As I understand it, however, the eggs are in rather a regrettable state upon exiting the ovipositor, and I fear I wouldn’t like touching them. I would have to do it with gloves, which would probably offend the hen.

On another but related topic, I think it’s strange that we eat bird ovulations.

On the other hand, I don’t know if David will be mature enough to deal with chickens and their eggs when he is 40 years old.

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