Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Know about Chicken Work

It's work, that's what I know, as I'm sure most of you do.

I've noticed comments like this on Craigslist lately, usually accompanying a small coop or chicken tractor for sale:
"This coop was designed by me, (not a kit or online plans), and built using 100% recycled wood (and some hardware). It is white because I primed it to protect the wood, but you can paint it any color you want. Also have some misc. supplies I can throw in if you are looking at getting your own flock started.

And if I do say so, this is a most excellent coop, I'm very proud of it, we've just decided that we aren't eating enough eggs to justify the time we spend on the birds."  (Picture was of a very cute small doghouse type coop.)

Work, what Keith has been doing the entire holiday weekend.
This is no picture of a bucolic chicken yard, it is stinking with chicken poop, and spoiled grain.  Nasty.  I deal with this three times a day.  I love it.
The inside of the big henhouse.  We need to pull all the drywall down... we had hoped to move ALL chickens to the new henyard for a couple of weeks and then attack this.  The stains on the walls are from the starlings coming in during the winter.  This house will still be used, but by the elderly chickens, one of which you see in front of you, and two old roosters in the background, plus a dozen more.   You can JUST make out April on the feed room side, which we have used as a coop this entire year. 
Nope, I wouldn't call this a bucolic picture, either.
And this pen, whew.... stinking.... you see, the tarp over it ripped three days ago in the storm, and the whole front of the pen is wet.  UGH.  I'll be busy tomorrow putting a new tarp on in the 95 degree weather predicted, because we are expecting strong storms on Friday.  By the way, Tonganoxie had the highest temps in the metro area today, Keith will attest to that!  (and these cockerel-producing hens are moving to the new henhouse!)
So, my whole point... I applaud those folks who have been reading every woman's magazine for the past year about the delights of raising a few hens for eggs... but it's HARD WORK.  The ad I showed you above is one of many, I'm afraid.  It's hard, dirty work and you have to do it when you are tired, when you are running a fever, when you want to go do something else.... the chickens have to be fed and watered, their wounds treated, their babies protected, and their pens kept moderately safe from predators.  You can't go to grandma's house for Thanksgiving unless someone has stayed home to feed the chickens, or unless grandma lives in the same area.  You can't go to Cancun unless you have a chicken babysitter.
And that's what I know!  
(and yes, It's getting to be the "All Chicken Blog" again, I know)


  1. You are a dedicated chicken keeper! :) I know, it's a dirty place to hang out, but it's so nice to get those fresh eggs, and know that other people appreciate them too, isn't it?!

  2. We took a year off from chickens this year, and you know what? I miss the work. Yep, the cleaning up and getting up. It is a lot of work for sure, but worth it. Last year we had over 70 birds. Now that is a lot of work. Next year we will probably get two dozen meat birds and forget the eggs, as Elaine can't eat them due to allergies (sort of). I can hardly wait for the winter to come and be gone! For more reasons than chickens!

  3. Amen to that! It's not all about the eggs. A person has to really love chickens : )

  4. Chickens are dirty and alot of work, for sure. But they're also charming, entertaining and downright silly. I'm glad I made the choice to become a flock keeper and wouldn't trade them (or their eggs) for the world.

  5. Yep..
    I couldn't agree more.
    Chickens are hard work.

    I've known a person or two, that despite their best efforts, gave up on keeping chickens.

    We love ours.. so we'll continue having 'the girls'.

    Love how the new chicken coop is coming along!


  6. Oh Mary Ann--funny I thought for awhile I was writing this post!! I know every word and sentence you are saying! So very true! But true also like you say-they are worth it-they are entertaining! Most of my flock is so old I have to by my eggs at the neighbors farm! How fair is that!! But these are my friends! haha
    Rain :)

  7. Martha Stewart never gave you that side of the hobby, did she? I'm glad you are still laughing. Hang in there.

  8. I know, we are planning a camping weekend...but have to drive home twice a day to take care of the critters.

    Glad the place is only an hour away


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