Yesterday I brought home some replacement layers. One of our broody hens has already hatched a small batch, maybe 7, here at home. From the farm store I bought 6 more – 4 little things being called Ameraucana or Araucana or some such.
A lady shopper in the store told me “You know those are not really Arucana, right?” and she went on “those are Easter Egg layers.” I told the lady shopper okay and directed the worker man to put four of the Easter Egg layers in the little box, two of the darker ones and two of the lighter ones. I also got two Leghorn pullets because we haven’t had a white egg layers in a while. I believe we got the standard Leghorn, that is all white feathers. We’ve had brown Leghorn before and she was an excellent white egg layer, one of the best. I’d been inquiring at the farm store for Maran chicks but they weren’t able to get them in this year. I believe we have 2 Marans from last year still laying. They’re a bit difficult to distinguish from a barred rock but they lay my favorite colored egg right now, dark and speckled. Also right now we have a few colored egg layers and the rest are brown eggs. It is nice to be able to have all the colors in a carton when we give eggs to folk. Adding white will be nice come fall.
I got two turkey chicks as well, broad-breasted black ones, straight run. They’d like to keep us up all night calling out from the brooder in the sunroom. It was kind of like the wood frogs keeping us up with their raucous sexual extravaganza a few nights ago. We catch about 150 gallons of rainwater off the side of our house very near our bedroom window. The next day it was loaded with eggs and the frogs were quiet. Business done. I’m not sure what’ll shut up the turkey chick. Maybe it is one, maybe it is both of them. They don’t need food or water, or company. They’re not in trouble or caught in a tight spot. Sometimes you don’t know with turkeys, sometimes it seems they do things without meaning. Maybe they do.
Anyway, I can sleep through most things. My wife had to put in earplugs to sleep through the frogs but it was fine for me. The turkey chick calls are a bit more piercing but still I can sleep through it. There is an old family story about how when we were kids my brother and I were moved to the guest room when our bed was being painted and we slept together in a big, tall bed. And sometime in the night, because we were rolling, kicking and pushing sleepers, he fell off the bed and broke his collar-bone. There was screaming and an ambulance came and I slept through the whole thing. Legendary. When I woke up he was wearing this strange green cast around his shoulders and neck and I learned there was such a thing as a collar-bone and how he had broke it.
It is funny how quick the chicks go from active to sleep mode and back and forth over such a short period of time. Some sleep funny with their necks splayed out in the bedding. They’ll be in the house for about a week or two before moving to the brooder in the barn for another week or so, then adjacent to the regular chicken coop, with just chicken wire between them, until they’re big enough to join the flock.
It is hard to state how important eggs are in our diet. It is a rare day when we don’t eat them. I can’t imagine not having chickens after having kept them for 10 years now. They’re so easy. Lord knows why, in this country of plenty, every home with a yard doesn’t have some chickens.