Monday, March 12, 2012

To peep or not to peep

It's almost chick time.
I both love and hate raising chicks. They're a lot of trouble, but they're also a lot of fun, and sooo cute! Too bad that they poop and peep all day and most of the night.
After the various massacres, we have two very good hens left. We guard them very carefully. I could stand to have a rooster again, I think. I still have hopes that one of the hens will turn out to be broody.
For commercial considerations, hens have had broodiness bred out of them. When a hen sits to hatch her eggs, she stops laying, and she's sort of a nuisance because she'll resist any attempt to collect those eggs she's sitting on. So I completely understand why farmers bred it out ... and yet it's a problem for those of us with little bitty farms who would rather have the hens raise the chicks than to do it ourselves. Commercial places that bother with raising chicks do it with an incubator that automagically turns the eggs and keeps them at the right temperature. When the chicks are born they're transferred to carefully temperature-controlled rooms with automatic feeders and waterers and stuff. Me, I've got a heat lamp, a 20 gallon aquarium, and my office (which is tiled--easier to clean up than the rest of the house.) It's a mess.
I'm seriously considering skipping it this year. And yet ... I'd love to have green and blue eggs again, and maybe a rooster. Who knows? Someone in this batch might be broody ... hopefully not somewhere in the field where she and the eggs will get snatched by a raccoon ....

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