Sunday, January 22, 2017

"I Can't Believe I Am Risking My Life For A Chicken!"

Note To Self: Do not surf on Kijiji when you are high on cold meds and depressed that you are missing out on all of your days off!

That is how this adventure started - a well timed ad on Kijiji, when I may have been feeling a little sorry for myself, led to a hair raising trip, with a healthy side dish of black ice. When I saw the ad for 16 week old laying hens for $8.50 per bird, brown or white egg layers, take your pick, I could not resist. Having just purchased a Seacan that had been double insulated and converted to a chicken house (complete with wired in timer, hanging feeders, waterers etc.) I realized that I could fill the building with ready-to-lay hens, at a reasonable cost. Trouble was, it was COLD outside and the hens were about three to three and half hours away and between here and there, a lot of icy roads!

It may have been wiser to wait for another batch (when it was not so bitter outside), but where would have been the adventure in that? Mike spend a day building a large plywood pen, divided in half, for the inside of our stock trailer. We filled it with pine shavings and set off for Acme, Alberta. Along the way, we got slightly  lost, saw numerous cars fly off the highway, observed semi trailer trucks jackknifed in the ditch and slipped and slid our way to our destination.

At one point, when I gasped and bit my fingernails in the arm rest of the truck, Mike looked,  possibly glared at me and exclaimed, "I can't believe that I am risking my life for a chicken!"

We picked up the 50 birds that I had ordered (and a few more than I ordered - chicken math, you know) and headed back on those treacherous roads, which were slightly better than the first trip, but still not peachy! Due to the getting lost and the slow travel, we reached home MUCH later than anticipated and darkness had fallen and it was cold! The thought of catching all those chickens in the dark and putting them into their cozy new home was not too appealing. We opted for a different solution. By backing the stock trailer into the heated machinery shed, we were able to drop the trailer and keep the hens safe and warm for the night. We put water and feed into both sides of the compartment that Mike had built and closed the overhead door. The last time we looked, my hens were nestled down in the shavings and looking sleepy.

In the morning, we peeked into the trailer and there were eggs everywhere!

In broad daylight,  were able to catch all of the layers and put them in their new home! All 60 of them!! (Which now brings my chicken total to about 95, not counting ducks and quail). That is quite a few eggs a day! Luckily, I have a steady stream of friends that come every week and there have been no issues finding homes for all of the beautiful eggs.

One of my goals, this year,  for Project Life 365 is to have a picture of myself every week of the year, doing something that I normally do on the farm - so Mike is having to help out by taking my photo.
Now I just have to turn him into a photographer with a good eye for shadows! I love this picture of Rosie and I, but the shadow from her cattle shelter is bothering me. I can not wait to get into my own albums at least 52 times this year! Not a bad goal for 2017!

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