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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

Page 07

April 2012 Vol. 2

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April 2012
Vol. 2

gained confidence and relaxed my vigilance considerably, these unproductive old farts refuse to expire gracefully of natural causes. I can already see the problem about to be compounded in the next generation of the flock, born in 2006. Normally, you can expect periodic mortality - a chickhood disease, a predator attack, a random chicken heart-attack - but no, I haven't lost a single bird out of the 2006 batch. These hens will become eligible for retirement sometime next year, at which point over half of my flock will be on the dole.

Then there's the strike. With absolutely no fanfare - no picket lines, no signs, no bullhorns, no written demands - all four of my working-age Ameraucanas abruptly ceased laying their blue-green eggs about two months ago. I have no explanation and no idea what they want.

Finally, I must bring up the unpleasant matter of the mix-up at the feed store this spring. I ordered two buff Brahmas to keep the Gandhi line going. The tiny yellow chicks with downy slippers on their feet arrived with punky purple stripes spray-painted on their heads, apparently to keep them sorted. The system failed. Instead of two full-sized Brahma hens, I ended up with a matched pair of junior-sized, strutting, crowing

bantam roosters. Elsewhere in Chase County (and I think I've figured out where), are the two big, beautiful Brahma hens I ordered. I'd love to work out a trade, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), one of the roosters died mysteriously this summer while we were away on vacation. The remaining rooster is called Mister, which is always italicized when you say it, as in "Listen here, Mister" and "Where do you think you're going, Mister?" I have absolutely nothing against him aside from the fact that he does not lay eggs - he is a handsome fellow with a reasonable disposition and only a few minor, over-compensatory Napoleonic tendencies.

When I mentioned the possibility of a bailout plan while I was at the Hitchin Post for a burger the other day, one fellow was quick to bring up a time-honored solution. "I can tell you what you need," he matter-of-factly informed me. "It's called the Chicken and Dumpling Plan."

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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published April 2012 by