Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eggs, Chickens and Old Age!


Busy days at the ranch. We are done with the first round of lambing and are now just waiting on a BIG bonus round in May. The Shelly ran up from the barn this morning to tell me that we had a visiting kitty in the llama/goat pen last night. Apparently it just passed through as no one is harmed or freaked out. The snow has been falling and temperatures dropping and eggs sales have been picking up so much so that I haven't had a any in a few days. Somethings wrong when all of your eggs are sold before you get out of bed for breakfast. This morning I either got lucky or someone wasn't paying attention. I opened up the fridge to find four eggs sitting without a crate in the diary bin. I got my pan ready, bread in the toaster. I banged the first egg on the counter top to crack the shell and.....found that it had been hard boiled along with the other three. So it turns out that I was the one not paying attention. I decided on egg salad instead of fried, I didn't really have a choice. Turns out it was a good thing, it made me remember the days of chemo and all the wonderful conversations Mama Nell and I had over a couple of sandwiches. After nearly having my fingers removed by Hound Dog as she lurched for the crust, I went downstairs and checked on the little critters. BC (Blind Chicken) had been moved into the house several months ago. BC is a wonderfully feathered Americuna chicken. She was left here at the ranch after the Nash fire a couple of summers ago. The Boss Lady took her to Phoenix ranch for a week or so and then returned her after we realized she was blind. She lived in with the layer chickens until she got herself stuck between two fences. When she was stuck the other chickens pecked a hole in her throat and when I found her I was sure she was a goner. I hauled her up to the house and let her live in a dog crate for a few days, I really thought that was all she had left. Chickens are amazing things, as I have come to found out. She healed up and was back to her chicken self again in no time. We put her back in the coop thinking things would be just fine. The other hens really believe in that "Survival of the fittest" thing. They took to pecking at her again. So we moved poor old BC up to the duck pen behind the house. She lived with the ducks with no problems. She got use to her surroundings and started laying eggs again. Several months ago when I went out to feed the ducks and BC, I found that she had roosted on the side of the stock tank that the ducks swim in. It happened to be very cold and she had become frozen to the lip on the tank. I used the blow dryer to thaw her off the tank. (I'm nuts and I know it, who else uses a blow dryer to thaw out their blind chicken?) I scooped her up and took her inside. Since we have every other animal living inside, I couldn't find a problem with one chicken. So, now she lives in the rabbit room in a stock tank. She has free eats, heat, water and love! She gives me a big green egg every day and sings to me when I go to collect it. She's reliable hen in her golden years, she's about 7 years old. I love BC and couldn't imagine putting her into a pot for Sunday soup. Yet....as I'm selling eggs to a customer the other day, the customer told me that she would buy BC and take her off my hands. I asked what she wanted BC for as she lives in town and can't have chickens. She told me that she would buy BC and any older hens for stew. OH! I politely declined, explained that I don't butcher my layers. Why would I butcher BC anyway? She gives me a HUGE egg, everyday. She's old but so am I. I do butcher chickens, that I raise from chicks. They live about 10 weeks here on the ranch. They are bred to be butchered. For the most part letting them live for 6 months is a really BAD thing to do. They have little hearts, big bodies and little feet. After 4 months they can't stand up. The don't fully feather and would freeze to death in our cold climate. They don't live long enough to lay eggs. I think keeping some breeds of butcher chickens too long is just mean. However, keeping BC right now is not mean. She is happy and healthy and giving. I understand ranch life. I hope that we are being HUMANE ranchers. As for BC....She will continue to live in the rabbit room until the green grass grows and then she will be back in the duck pen until the snow flies.

BC's Egg on the left.

No comments:

Post a Comment