animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / good finds

Confessions of an irresponsible farmer

I have to confess, lately I've handed over the egg-collecting, chicken-feeding duties to my children. While I enjoy a good trek to the coop with my morning cup of coffee, I've been letting the girls handle the chore. I haven't been to the coop for much more than a nightly lock-in, in quite awhile. 

Apparently, it's been ooooh, about 21 days. 

Precisely the amount of time it takes for something magical to occur in an un-monitored nesting box.

This morning, the children on chicken-duty came blasting back into the house to let me know we had baby chicks. 

No, we don't, I told them. Silly girls

But I followed them out to the coop and before I even got to the door, I could hear that familiar peeping.

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

And there, perched in her nesting box was one of our  Rhode Island Red hens with EIGHT little fluffy chicks tucked under her breast. 

This, by far, has been one of the best surprises ever on our little farm. 

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

Being the irresponsible farmer that I am, slinging all chicken duties onto the shoulders of my children, the girls confessed that this hen hasn't been letting them collect the eggs she was sitting on. Usually, the girls let me know someone is broody, so we can force her out of the coop during the day. But this time, the message never made it to me. And look what the lack of responsibility for my flock produced! (I'll have to try approach this more often. I wonder if a similar technique works on the vegetable garden?)

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

But I couldn't share this story without acknowledging that the chick's arrival today is full of irony.

Just yesterday, there was another rooster attack–this time on Elizabeth. It meant another call to my husband reminding him that something had to be done right away. And so yesterday evening, we all hid in the house, covering our ears while Dan took care of the rooster situation. And sparing details, the task proved to be quite complicated.

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

But today, those roosters, in a final statement of their immortaltiy and unwillingness to leave this earth, leave us with eight fluffy legacies. And chances are, I'll find myself attempting to befriend a rooster (or two! or more!) all over again.

I have to confess, lately I've handed over the egg-collecting, chicken-feeding duties to my children. While I enjoy a good trek to the coop with my morning cup of coffee, I've been letting the girls handle the chore. I haven't been to the coop for much more than a nightly lock-in, in quite awhile. 

Apparently, it's been ooooh, about 21 days. 

Precisely the amount of time it takes for something magical to occur in an un-monitored nesting box.

This morning, the children on chicken-duty came blasting back into the house to let me know we had baby chicks. 

No, we don't, I told them. Silly girls

But I followed them out to the coop and before I even got to the door, I could hear that familiar peeping.

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

And there, perched in her nesting box was one of our  Rhode Island Red hens with EIGHT little fluffy chicks tucked under her breast. 

This, by far, has been one of the best surprises ever on our little farm. 

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

Being the irresponsible farmer that I am, slinging all chicken duties onto the shoulders of my children, the girls confessed that this hen hasn't been letting them collect the eggs she was sitting on. Usually, the girls let me know someone is broody, so we can force her out of the coop during the day. But this time, the message never made it to me. And look what the lack of responsibility for my flock produced! (I'll have to try approach this more often. I wonder if a similar technique works on the vegetable garden?)

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

But I couldn't share this story without acknowledging that the chick's arrival today is full of irony.

Just yesterday, there was another rooster attack–this time on Elizabeth. It meant another call to my husband reminding him that something had to be done right away. And so yesterday evening, we all hid in the house, covering our ears while Dan took care of the rooster situation. And sparing details, the task proved to be quite complicated.

confessions of an irresponsible farmer

But today, those roosters, in a final statement of their immortaltiy and unwillingness to leave this earth, leave us with eight fluffy legacies. And chances are, I'll find myself attempting to befriend a rooster (or two! or more!) all over again.

26 comments on “Confessions of an irresponsible farmer”

  1. How delightful. 🙂 We’ve had our share of rooster troubles, too, but have been very happy for several years now with a silkie rooster. Silkies are bantams, so he’s not any bigger than my regular hens, and very mild mannered.

  2. Wow! This post hits home for me on so many levels. We had a surprise rooster in our batch of spring hens and our 4 girls begged for the rooster to stay. He was so pretty. And he, too, attacked my girls. A few weeks ago I sent that same email to my hubby, and our rooster ended up back at the hardware store before the ladies were laying. So no surprise chicks for us. But your post showed me what could have been 🙂 They are so cute!

  3. 🙂

    Whenever you have a post about your chickens I have to read it to my aspiring farmer. She wants chickens terribly bad and is trying to learn anything and everything about them right now. This post had her smiling from ear to ear. I’m pretty sure she is secretly, OK maybe not so secretly, hoping that when we get our chicks this spring there will be a surprise rooster among them.

    Any book recommendations for kids (and their mommas) learning to raise and care for chickens?

  4. Lucky you! I keep waiting for this to happen on my farm, but I’m far to particular about finding every last egg, every single day… I’ve recently decided, though, that I’m going to use hen-power for hatching new chicks instead of the incubator, so the next time a hen goes broody, we’ll give it a go! Brava to your Mama Hen!

  5. I keep coming back to this post because I just love this story. As a keeper of hens and collector of eggs, I know very well a broody hen. We have no roosters here though, so I shoo my broody hen off the eggs.

    What a great surprise for you and your girls.

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