CHICKEN VIGNETTES – April 2010

By Eddie Piervincenzi

I have always loved birds and am a bit of a bird watcher as well as a bird feeder. We had relocated to Andes almost two years before a friend asked me if I wanted chickens. I wasn’t sure but my husband, Bill, thought “why not?” So began my new interest.

We took seven hens and had no secure place to keep them. They lived in our garage for three days while my guy converted our dirt floor goat shed into accommodations for chickens. He installed a floor and made a hatch for the chickens to come in and out and built a row of nest boxes about 4 feet off the floor with poles for perches. As winter approached we added a light bulb to burn for heat and light. I learned that chickens need 17 hours of daylight to produce eggs. That is why egg production reduces in the winter. Well, we solved that problem and spent many years making friends happy with gifts of dozens of eggs that we could never use.

Over the years we enjoyed the chickens but were heartbroken on many occasions when predators devastated our flock forcing us to acquire more chickens. One year it was a gray fox, another year it was a family of hungry raccoons. And in the end, I was too heartbroken to try again.

But I did have two particular hens that were adorable. They were a cross between a White Leghorn and a Rhode Island Red. They were curious and would follow me all over the place. I called them “tag-a-longs”. Unfortunately, being sweet natured, they succumbed to the predator!

Last summer I gave all chickens up for good. I had dumped mulch all over the place to keep down weeds and make life easier for my aging body. The end result was that the chickens loved the mulch! They spent all day scratching in the mulch and putting it where I didn’t want it! I couldn’t spend my life redistributing the mulch, so the chickens had to go.

After the “snowmegellon” we had, I am glad I no longer have chickens to care for. ~