Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Now you see 'em, now you don't

I used to count the chickens every night, and I mourned when one was missing.  Sometimes the errant bird showed up, sometimes not.  I started with 26 chickens, and by the time the new chicks arrived this year, I only had nine of them left - one rooster and eight layers.

I had losses from this year's chicks.  The hatchery replaced ten of them.  By the time I took them out to the Moop to join the other chickens, there were a total of 54, two roosters and 52 layers or pullets.

I haven't counted in quite some time.  Too many of them, and so heartbreaking when the number isn't right.  We lost one to a hawk, and second one didn't make it into the Moop on a cold night.  I found her body in the snow outside the pen.  Both were Campines, my favorites.  So now we keep a bit of hay under the Moop and make sure the gate is open at night, just in case some errant girl is out and about at sunset when I close the lid on the Moop.

About a week ago, I did a count, flashlight in hand.  There should have been 52.  I counted only 47, so that meant I had lost another five at some point.  No bodies were found lying around, so I could only imagine that a critter dragged them off.

Last night, I bravely decided to do another count, even though I knew I would be very depressed if the number was less than 47.  There were 52!  The Buckeyes are solid dark brown and tend to bunch on the floor in corners.  I am assuming I just did a terrible job of counting last week.  My heart soared to know that all of the cluckers were still there!

I am in love with these chickens.  But you knew that.  :)


  1. I lost my first hen on Christmas Eve (nice Christmas gift, huh?). A neighborhood dog must have come into the yard and killed her, but didn't know what to do once she was dead, since she wasn't eaten. I was sad to lose her, but a friend taught me how to remove the skin and feathers to recover the meat. So now I have boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. :) I'd much rather have a live layer, but at least she didn't go to waste...

  2. I'm sorry to hear that, Di. I suppose I should butchered the one I found frozen in the snow. You are braver than I.