Just a Chickeny Detour

the chicken village in the backyard

I’m still busy busy working on my commission quilt, so I figured I’d take a moment to describe my other fun fun remunerative activity: selling eggs!

When we closed the deal on our lovely home in Black Mountain a couple of years ago, we did not initially realize that the deal included 4 Ameraucana chickens! We had seen them when we first looked at the house, and I thought it would be quite fun to be able to keep backyard chickens, a somewhat secret wish of mine, but one of those “pie in the sky” kind of things which I never thought would ever happen. I had never kept chickens and didn’t know the first thing about it. So we ended up buying the house and when we took possession of it, we noticed the chickens were still in their coop, and a couple of pet carriers were waiting next to it. I found out that the real estate agent was coming to pick them up soon to take them to their new situation, since the original homeowner could not keep them. So I went back there and saw the chickens and I said “oh poor things” and then the real estate agent said in a joking way “they’re gone unless you want to keep them” and I was like “sure!” he said “do you really want them?” and I said “sure!” I double checked with my husband who was all for the idea. The agent then called the original owners and they agreed we could keep them.

poor chick at vet after dog incident

I can’t help thinking that the poor dears would’ve ended up in the pot right now.

We have not only kept the original four, but we acquired 5 more, and greatly extended their living quarters. In addition, we have truly embraced the ‘free range’ philosophy, to the point that they have, within a few months, completely eliminated the lawn from the backyard! It looks kind of extreme, but in the end it saves us mowing work, and I have long objected to the whole aesthetic of a lawn, period.

In any event, we’ve had good times, but unfortunately some bad times as well. A few months after we took over the chickens, one of the lovely Ameraucanas suffered from a bound egg, and shortly perished. This was long before we knew a lot about chicken physiology, and didn’t know what could be done when an egg gets stuck inside of a chicken. Nowadays, I would have noticed its funny walk, and taken measures to cure the ill.

As well, we had to fend an unfortunate neighbor dog attack that almost liquidated one of our young brown hens, but thankfully our presence averted the disaster, and the dog itself was not very big. As well, another chicken had a cough and had to visit the vet too. But aside from those snafus, we have had good old times with the chickens! They are very cute, fun, and self sufficient. They also are the only pet that to some degree ‘pays for itself’, because people like to purchase the eggs! We didn’t even have to advertise – people came knocking on the door and purchasing eggs.

The lovely chickens many eggs, and many of them are incredible sized! Here is a photo comparing some store-bought eggs to the ones that my chickens made:

large brown + white eggs (our chickens) v small brown “Large” eggs (storebought)

Since I end up selling all the chicken eggs I produce, I rarely actually get to eat any! This morning I actually wanted some eggs and had to go out to the store to get some, which is sort of hilarious if you think about it. In any event, since I have a dozen waiting to go to a client, I had a chance to compare the storebought eggs to the ones produced here. The size differential is interesting, to say the least…

There is actually one tie-in to quilting: I’ve been collecting chicken fabric so that I can one day make a chicken quilt. Actually, all of my quilting friends are actively aiding and abetting my one day completing a chicken quilt.

a quilt guild member’s chickeny quilt

A quilt guild member, in fact, made a special trip to town just to drop off the quilt pattern of this quilt for me. Though it would never have occurred to me on my own to pursue a chicken quilt, I do see how this would be cute and appropriate, so…. who knows? Maybe my next project will be a chickeny quilt.

Till next time, then.

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