We gave away our old (in every sense of the word) hens before we left for England. They were laying only a few eggs a day, so our eggs were costing us a pretty penny. I can't bring myself to dress out birds we've had for a long time. It just doesn't seem fair. So we give them away when they get past their laying prime. The last ones went to a family who just wanted to have some chickens running around, and to teach their children to be responsible for animals. Egg production wasn't a concern for them. The ones before that went to a young man who planned to gather what eggs the girls were still laying, and start a FFA flock by hatching the chicks. His plan worked. Now he is in the military and I wonder if he even remembers getting those hens.
We found these on the local radion Swap& Shop show, a show Larry listens to religiously. Well, I do too, because it's so entertaining. You never know what people want or want to sell. Here's how our hens came up on the air:
"Hello? Hello? Is Swap & Shop on this morning?"
"Yes, it is, buddy, you're on the air right now."
"Oh. Well, I didn't know cuz I don't have no radio. But I got 12 chickens I want to sell. These are all hens, Golden Comets, and they're about 4 months old. We got 'em in September and raised 'em ourselves. Well, we got 50, but I sold 12 so now I have 37. Lost one you know. I was gonna add on to my henhouse but then I got sick and had to go to the hospital so this is just too many hens. So I want to sell 12 of them."
"Okay, buddy, give me your number and we got you covered."
So I called. At $7.00 a head, these were a good deal. Baby chicks cost about $3.00 each; add in the cost of feed for 4 months and you can see what I mean, plus all the time in caring for them--keeping them inside under a light, bedding, etc.
The hens were about 45 minutes from us, in a beautiful country setting in West Virginia's smallest (and one of the least populated) counties, Wirt. When we drove up, this is what greeted us:
Notice what the sign says? "Beware of the Dog."
Joe and his wife Susie found this little doe beside her mother, who was lying dead in a ditch by the road. They brought her home and raised her inside, putting a diaper on her. They know that she'll leave one day, or might get shot during deer season, but as Joe said, "You can't just leave a little thing crying like that. She come right to us."
Larry loved her, and so did I! I even got to pet her a little bit. What a lucky little deer.
So anyway, now the hens are home. Larry spent a very busy day getting the coop ready for them. He'd been planning to get it cleaned out this winter and ready for new chicks in the spring, so his schedule got bumped up a bit. He's been having a blast with them, going down to check on them often, talking to them, and making sure all is well. He says he'd forgotten how much he enjoyed having chickens.
I am glad to have them again too. I have had chickens for most of 45 years of my life. I forget to buy eggs. I miss seeing them pecking around their yard, and I miss the contented clucking in the coop.
A rooster? Maybe. I'm not sure though. I like hearing a rooster crow, but maybe we can manage without. We'll see.
And for your listening pleasure: Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens. Enjoy!
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.