maybe I should count the chickens, once in awhile

You know the phrase about not counting your chickens before they hatch? I totally get that. Even when you know how many eggs the hen is sitting on you don’t know how many will be viable. And the number of times a mama hen looses a baby and no one seems to know where it’s gone to? Yeah, that happens a lot too.

So I don’t usually count my chickens until they’re a few months old. But I got lax about it last winter, and so I’m left not knowing exactly how many chickens I have. I know that we kept 5 hatchlings last fall. What I don’t know is if that was 5 hens, plus the extra rooster. Or 5 hatchlings including the extra rooster.

And they all grew up to look just like their mom (well, except the rooster) so do I have 5 little brown hens, or 6? Well, this wasn’t a problem until now. We’ve had a night-time visitor twice this week:

poof of feathers

And now I don’t know if I have 3 or 4 little brown hens. That’s what Neil and I call “a suspicious poof of feathers” Sometimes a bird can escape and the tail feathers make a suspicious poof. But most often these mean that somewhere a fox has a pretty good dinner for her kits.

Actually I’m pretty sure that I only have 3 little brown hens (plus their mom) left. Because that’s who was inside the coop last night*. Sadly it means we’re not going to have little baby chicks following their mom out of the woods any time soon. I call it the Darwin chicken flock for a reason, it’s survival of the fittest when the hens try to hatch chicks outside the coop…

*Ok, ok, 3 little brown hens, their mom, 2 partridge rocks, 2 brhamas, 2 americanas, 1 speckled sussex, 2 roosters, and 24 meat birds. It’s not like that coop is empty or anything…

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2 responses to “maybe I should count the chickens, once in awhile

  1. (shakes fist at fox!)
    We say “don’t count your chickens until they start laying” or “until they are in the freezer.” Sorry about your fox. Why aren’t poultry more compliant? We’ve lost 3 turkey hens because they decide they’re too good to make a nest in their enormous coop.

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