The Starter Farm

Chicken Run

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The frantic voice on the other line of the phone forced me to drop my fork.  “You need to be here tomorrow. They get dropped off at 8am, they get put out on the floor at 9am and you need to be here then because they go quick.”  Game on. 

            I had been waiting for this phone call for 4 months.  I was not about to drop the ball but I did hesitate for a minute.  “So, I need to pick something up at the garden nursery that is just past your store and I could stop at your place first but did not want them to sit in the car too long, so do you think it is OK if I do that first?” I replied. They told me I was taking my chances but it should be fine.

            As I was checking out at the nursery at 9:15am the next call came.  “Where are you?  You need to be here now!  They are only two left!”  What?  I thought I had time?  Theses suckers were really in more demand than I realized. I raced to my car and sped through the 45mph zone that everyone warns me not to due to a speed trap.  I did not care.  I needed them. 

            I did not know my pick up truck could peel out.  At my destination, I jumped out of the truck, (Did I turn off the ignition?) raced to the front door and arrived out of breath to the awaiting bin.  There she stood eyeing what was supposed to be mine.  I had to distract her before she ruined my day.  “What a pretty dress’, I exclaimed mustering all of the acting training I had in the past trying not to sound winded but sincere, ‘you look like you just step off the pages of a magazine.”  Bingo.  Her focus shifted to me.  She smiled; I had set her off her game.  I made eye contact with the store employee, conducted some mental telepathy, and she scooped the final two of my desired prizes away to safety.  I exhaled and walked away to collapse in a store chair to let my blood pressure settle down.

            It’s funny how one’s life desires change, as you grow older.  A few years ago this rush would have been for Dave Matthews tickets or a hot restaurant reservation.  Today it was all about chicks, the furry kind, Cuckoo Marans to be exact.  Marans are prized chickens that lay a very dark Chocolate colored egg and I crazily waited 4 months for their arrival.  Because of the size of coop and our insistence on not overcrowding it for healthy chickens reasons, our new additions need to be specific. 

            Mary Ann also needed persuading on adding new girls and with her away sailing the open seas this was the perfect time to sneak some new ones in!  I also picked up a Silver Leghorn chick because they are excellent producers of large white eggs, which our flock lacks, and they lay evenly throughout the winter when egg production typically slows.  Chickens start laying eggs at 5 months of age and lay consistently for about 4 or 5 five years before their egg production slows down so I always try to add new girls to keep supply online.

            The truth is this is my first try at raising day old chicks.  Before, I added girls that were already a few weeks old.  Baby chicks require more care and need to be under a heat lamp until 6 weeks to keep warm.  Raising babies and handling them at a young age is supposed to create very friendly girls but that is not always the case with certain breeds.  So here I go, another step into farming even though it may have cost me a friend at the feed store.

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