Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Exploring Farming

So we have been raising chickens for about a year and a half now--Hambone decided last April that it was time to teach the boys some responsibility so the poor chickens are our experiment in showing the boys what it means when you do or don't follow through on things. And being Hambone, we did not have a simple lot of 4 or 5 chickens show up. Instead we were blessed with 30 chickens all at once.

And of course when you live in the country and start talking about your thirty chickens, your neighbors who have chicken projects start donating their chickens to you. At one point we had a flock of about 36 running around in our yard.

Fast forward to winter, where there was a hungry mink in the yard and the flock dwindled to 12. This spring another dozen new chickens (plus two more from the neighbor) appeared in April like clockwork, thanks to the farm store.

The boys have really taken to the chickens, and while they still moan and complain about feeding and watering them, they've done a pretty good job. They sell a dozen eggs to the neighbors each weekend and earn a little money that way ($5 a dozen!) and all is well.

Mom watched all of this and at random heard from the local animal shelter that 100 goats had been forfeited. They were all pet goats, and Mom is such a big softie that she adopted two right away. They're pretty Nubian goats.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well, Hambone and I noticed that the egg production of the chickens was waaaay down over the last week or so. like we're down from 12 a day to 3. This was a major conundrum for our boys' egg business. Then we noticed a black snake curled up in the corner of the hen house.  Being an environmentalist, Mom said "Just leave the snake in there, it's not hurting anyone and it's not poisonous. It can't even eat the chickens."  Meanwhile we looked for other solutions to the egg situation.

After a week of looking at possible other scenarios, Hambone went to the hen house to have a nice conversation with the snake about the eggs. When he opened the door, he noticed the snake was in the laying nest, curled around the eggs.

Hambone then chased the snake out of the hen house with a stick, and on its way out, the snake pooed an egg. Because Mom was against killing the snake (the idea was to bring the snake to Hambone's office to eat mice over there) Hambone used the stick to try to lift the snake into a bucket. When the snake was lifted up, it vomited out two more eggs.

All this commotion caused the chickens to flock around. They saw something food-like on the ground so they started trying to eat the puked eggs, and the goats seized this opportunity to rush into the hen house and start gobbling up the chicken's food like it was candy.

The snake was not cooperating with the bucket plan at all either, so Hambone was bending over, lifting the snake up in the air with the stick, and then right over the bucket, the snake made an artistic arc of its body so that it could not be placed into the bucket. Over and over, 20 times or so this happened. Meanwhile, the egg gorging and chicken food feast added a comedic level of chaos. Hambone's frustration at the entire scenario was the cherry on top.

This morning the snake is in the Tesla on its way to Rosedale, the chickens and the goats are reset for a new day.  Two more goats arrive this week to add just one more level to the fun.