Things are rolling along well with the chickens now. We are getting three to five eggs every day, which is very good for this time of year. Except for the quail eggs, of course, all the eggs in our Christmas dinner came from the ladies. On top of that, we’ve been enjoying delicious scrambled eggs, omelets, and spaghetti carbonara.
Honestly, we have lost count of how many eggs we have gotten now. We estimate that the ladies have given us seven dozen, including nearly a dozen blue eggs from our beauty queen Marsala.
We haven’t kept track of expenses either. We have definitely spent more than we absolutely needed to. Construction costs have been the main thing. Unfortunately, there was the dismal failure of chicken run version 1.0 (flimsy flat wire roof + tarp + rain = problem). Chicken run version 2.0 is a much better design. It may be a bit overdone, but at least it will hold up and give the flock more room to grow.
Food isn’t a big expense. We pay about $10 for a bag of feed that lasts a month. A month’s worth of cracked corn for them to snack on is about $9. The ladies also enjoy treats from the kitchen. They have had beet greens, fennel tops, and mustard greens that were a bit long in the tooth. We found out that chickens are very fond of cheese as well. The most fun of all, though, is fresh ears of corn. You risk losing a finger, but it is so great to watch everyone circle around pecking at the ear until they’ve gotten every last kernel.
Looking back, our gardening efforts were only fair last summer, but our poultry empire is definitely off to a good start. We are thinking about concentrating our growing efforts this year on things that we can feed directly to the ladies. We would like to experiment with feeding herbs to the chickens to see what the effect is on the flavor of the eggs. There’s no good way to isolate the herbed eggs though, so it wouldn’t work right now. Maybe we’ll have to expand the flock in the new year so we can try it.
Overall, this has been a pretty good year for The Squirrels. Our family has grown with the addition of the ladies and a very grumpy cat. Teh boy is growing up more every day. We’ve made lots of new friends to add richness to the pot. The sad note for the year that will stay with us always has been the loss of our sweet puppy, Ursula. Life goes on, though, and we’ve got big plans to make 2008 the best year yet.
Above all, we’re grateful for all of you. Here’s wishing you and your flock all the best in the new year.