It’s the third week of August and flock three of our Rhode Island Reds have just started to lay eggs. They are so small you can hold half a dozen in your hand. This is a big day for us, a day we've been looking forward to ever since March 19th, 2009. They have made it this far healthy, happy and vigorous. The one rooster we got (by accident) has grown to be quite the leader. His problem is he is too big and the hens are smaller, thinner and faster.
Here they are at a day old.
You spend a lot of time with them making sure they are ok, that they don't get Coccidiosis, that their pen is clean and water free of foreign objects. If you look closely at this picture you will notice that the feed trough does not have bird droppings in it. That was an anomaly; as soon as they got enough strength the crap hit the fan.
They are energetic, inquisitive and love tomatoes. We have them outside and they can't resist flying the coop and raiding the garden. We know this not because we caught them but we started noticing peck marks on the reddest tomatoes. We have these huge German Queen heirlooms. They weigh in about 1.5 to 1.75 pounds each. These are bigger than the Mortgage Buster we had a couple of years ago and they are tasty. So the new chickens have found out too.
We finally figured it out when we saw an egg sitting in one of the rows between tomatoes plants. We packed up the electric fence and moved the house out behind the barn so they wouldn't be tempted, for all the hard work seeing a picture of them at a day old and seeing them now full grown you can't help but feel a sort of elation at the accomplishment. .
I am by nature a pessimist with a type A personality, I'm ok with that. But it is times like these that make me a laid back optimist. To have nurtured them to this point is time to celebrate the good fortune. But being a farm you don't want to crow too much because good times are not always around the corner.
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