Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Occupy the Chicken Coop

The weather is getting chilly. The days are shorter. Now it's dark by dinner time. Chickens everywhere are molting. And all of these facts mean that eggs are becoming scarce commodities. Eggs have become so rare around our house that I don't check the egg boxes everyday anymore. I'm getting ready to make a picket sign and camp out in the backyard chanting, "Hell no I won't go." "Eggs, eggs, edible eggs. Lay me eggs. Don't make me beg!"

With our girls being procrastinators, we only have one chicken, Bossy, in full molt. She looks like a hot mess. Her bum is nearly bald. She looks like she has a receding hairline, and she has feathers falling off of her constantly. She may be completely bald by next week at the rate she's going now. Erickson, our Brahma, is shedding her leg feathers, so it looks like she's wearing spats (think Spats Colombo in Some Like It Hot), but she doesn't seem to feel like molting anywhere else. She still lays eggs intermittently - maybe twice a week, three at best. Pouncey is heading into full-blown mangy molt. Her feathers are beginning to drop like flies. I could build a bantam hen out of her feathers alone that I picked up out of the coop and run this weekend. She looks a bit pathetic, but nowhere near as sad as Bossy. Then we have Ocho. She may have only lost four feathers so far. I'm not kidding. I fear she has decided she's going to put off molting as long as she possibly can. She has willpower. What will happen is she'll be half naked when winter comes and she'll freeze her bum off. Then, I'll feel terrible that she's out in the cold. My mean husband says no house chickens though, so she'll be out there freezing. I'm sure she'll tell me all about it when I go out to open the coop in the morning and bring them treats. My problem right now is that she is also not producing eggs. I mean, the least she could do while she's putting off her molt is to keep me in eggs. And last but not least, the little bantam rooster is still not crowing, but he's not an egg producer either so right now he's just adding to my egglessness. Not cool, Boba.

I absolutely refuse to buy eggs in the store. I do not have four hens in my backyard so I can buy crappy, watery, factory-produced (I already went on my rant about that one, so I'll spare you the details) eggs for $3.29 a dozen. I mean, after eating fresh eggs for a year, I don't know that I'd be able to identify the yolk in one of those junky store-bought eggs. I've been spoiled. I have come to expect a certain level of quality in my eggs. I like to walk outside and come back in with enough eggs to make a three-egg omelet anytime I want. With the holidays fast approaching, I'm concerned that I'll have to break down and actually pay for eggs so I can bake and cook the things I love to eat this time of year. I want to make fresh egg nog for my hubby. You can't make good, quality homemade egg nog with weak store-bought eggs!

So I propose a mass protest against backyard chickens across America. These chickens can't run us! We run them! They're our chickens! Don't let them take advantage of us anymore. Put on your warm clothes. Make a few picket signs. And settle in for the long haul. It's time to start protesting. I'm already working on my chants, "Eggs. Eggs. Where's my eggs? Lay my eggs or I'll eat your chicken legs!" Who's with me?

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