Free Range vs. Caged

There are advantages to letting chickens free range.  They eat mostly bugs and you know there’s no shortage of bugs around here!  They’re getting a good organic diet. We put feed out for them but they don’t eat a whole lot of it.  We give them calcium to make stronger egg shells and they love it, including the roosters.  They’re happy . . they entertain themselves all day chasing bugs, eating my flowers, following me around, peeping in my windows, knocking on my sewing room door . . not a care in the world do those chickens have.

The disadvantage is . . chicken poop . . everywhere!  My free range chickens are about to find themselves locked back in the chicken jail.

See the telltale chicken scratch marks in my little pile of dirt?  If that’s not enough to tell me they’ve been playing in the dirt pile, they’ve scratched and scattered it and there’s some of the evidence up on the porch.  That’s not all the evidence that’s on the porch.  I see several little piles of . . what goes into a chicken comes out . . Helen told me!  :)

And then I’m in the kitchen cooking and I look out the window.

There’s the peeping chicken again.  Thank goodness we didn’t let all 20+ chickens run loose . . we’d have quite a mess around here, not to mention no privacy since they love sneaking around and looking in the windows to see what we’re doing!

Egg Cartons

In Missouri, I had 8 hens and 2 of those were poor layers, but they did lay beautiful blue and green eggs when they bothered to lay!  I consistently got 6 eggs per day from those red hens I loved and every now and then a blue or green egg to add to the 6.  Everyone I knew saved their egg cartons for me and I always had a stack of them in the garage.

Here, I have 13 red chickens and consistently get 13 eggs per day from them, even though Miss Hattie has other things on her mind!  :)  I get 2 eggs most days from my 3 black hens and 1 little egg per day from my 2 bantams.  Most days, I get 16 eggs.  That’s a whole lot of eggs.  I hardly know anyone here and I get a few egg cartons but I get so many eggs, I need lots of cartons.  It’s funny because some days when I go to get the mail, there are empty egg cartons in my mail box.  I never know for sure where they come from.

I got tired of scrounging egg cartons and asking everyone for their empty cartons so I ordered some.

How many cartons do you think that is?  200

When Vince saw them, he looked at me in total disbelief.   I don’t know if he realizes how many eggs I get each day.  200 egg cartons will hold 2400 eggs and that’s about a six month supply of cartons.  I do believe he thought I bought about a 10 year supply of cartons!

Visiting Chickens

I’m the biggest chicken ever.  I’m not very brave and everything scares me.  Yesterday I was in the sewing room and the back door was open but the storm door was closed.  The wind was blowing and causing it to make some noises so I was halfway on edge anyway.

Since my sewing room is inside the metal barn, to get into the sewing room you go through a regular house type door, then walk about 6 feet in a little hallway and then there’s the door to my sewing room.  Most days I leave the outside door open and just close the sewing room door.  I’m back and forth to the house a dozen times (or more) each day so it’s easier to have to open one door and the outside door is locked when it’s closed.

So, yesterday I was sitting there sewing . . already kinda jumpy because the storm door kept creaking and then I heard “tap, tap, tap” on the main door.  I stopped and listened.  I wasn’t expecting anyone.  It didn’t sound like it could be the UPS man.  I heard it again . . “tap, tap, tap”.  It sounded like a little knock.  My neighbor has 3 year olds and I thought maybe they had ridden over and it was a little 3 year old knock.  I got up and went to open the door.

Not a 3 year old but 6 chickens!  They had come through the door and down the hall and were knocking on my door.  Technically, they were pecking on my sewing room door.  When I opened the door, they were ready to come inside.  NO!  I chased them out and will have to keep the outside door closed now.

The outside door is right in front of the Highlander.  When I chased the chickens out, this is as far as they got.  I told them . . if they want to live to see another day, they best not get anywhere near that Highlander!  I hope they take my advice!  Vince will be happy to have chicken and dumplings if he catches one on his beloved Highlander.