Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Early Show

The early dawn today brought the return of a bi-annual tradition on the farm. The cycling of the chicken flock. Our current laying flock is now nearly two years old and well past their prime. We have 52 hens and were getting 4-8 eggs a day. Not a very good "feed-to-egg" conversion!

So this morning the alarm went off at 3:30am and we drug ourselves out of bed, suited up in our Carharts and went out into the early morning to crate up the flock. This sounds fairly simple, and it really should be, but somehow it tends to be more of a Keystone Cop episode.

Regardless, at 4:20am, Sean set off down the road, sharing the trip with 52 hens and one rooster. I hope its going well, because they will be in that van for more than 3 hours together. Its a ridiculously long trip, but there aren't many lockers that will process chickens at this time of year. Sean will return late this evening with 2 coolers full of farm-raised, stewing hens ready to go into the freezer and we will look forward to homemade chicken soup, chicken and noodles and our own chicken salad sandwiches for 2009. Such is the cycle of life on the farm.


girlwithasword said...

I think that sharing a van for 3 hours with chickens might not be the most fun job ever. Then again, i don't know, I've never done it. :) funny things you do when you live on a farm, huh?

Anonymous said...

Where do you guys take them? I have had trouble finding anywhere that still does birds, period, let alone this time of year, so we always get spring birds. It would cut down on the chaos to be able to take advantage of some of the autumn specials and I would much rather ride a while in a van with some pent up roosters that have to clean them myself, which is what i had to do this fall.

BlueGate said...

Yeah, the 'out of season' factor has been a problem for us too. This year we used a place in Greene called Martzahn's. Last time we found a place in Hospers
(NE Iowa) that would do them.

When there is just one or two, we do them ourselves, but 53 is just too many to fuss with at home.

sugarcreekfarm said...

I'm glad to know that Martzahn's is still doing stewing hens. Someone had told me they wouldn't do them anymore, and I'd forgotten to ask when I had the last batch of broilers in there this fall.