Guest Post: Our Fearless Chicken Farmer

Note from Julie: a big Thanks to Dan for this post. I have neglected my blog this month due to back-to-school crazy days in my store… sheep? What sheep? Come September regular updates should resume!


Well I am now officially a chicken farmer.  Ain’t it great?  In this article I will share some lessons learned during my first month.

#1: Scratch and Scraps are addictive.  To the chickens and to us too.  No, we don’t eat it, it’s addictive to us to watch them go crazy over it, especially tomatoes.   It seems no matter what is in the scraps they always go for the tomatoes first.  No, I take that back.  We had 3 cups of left over home made creamed corn and it was gone in seconds.  I love to throw small tomatoes in the pen, just a couple and then watch them pick them up and run away from the other chickens.  When they drop the tomato another chicken will pick it up and then run away from the others.  This continues till the tomato is gone.

#2:  Roosters are Very Protective.  We were told our Rooster was overly protective and I found that out when it took a flying leap at my leg.  It hurt real good.  When I turned my back I saw him make another run at me and I give him a little boot to the other side of the pen.  He hasn’t bothered me since.  In fact he gives me a wide berth.

#3:  Don’t leave the coop light on all night.  Well it was an accident.  Chickens don’t like to lay eggs the next day if you disturb their day/night rhythm.

#4:  Chickens don’t listen at all.  We have six hens and were consistently getting only five eggs and some days only 4.  No matter how many times I told the ladies that they weren’t earning their keep I wouldn’t get any more.  It seemed to go in one ear and out the other.  Like there was nothing inside to stop the thought.  Now I know in the heat of summer that laying eggs tends to decline but these are all young chicks.  FINALLY, they gave me six eggs the past two days.

#5:  Use a basket when collecting eggs and only do it once a day.  The first 3 days I wore myself out checking for eggs every hour or so.  It didn’t help that Beth was calling every hour to see if we had any eggs yet.  The basket is important because dropped eggs tend to break and make a mess.  I know this from personal experience after dropping 3-4 of them over the past two weeks.

#6:  Find someplace to get rid of excess eggs.  Right now we have 4 dozens eggs in the refrigerator.  And they don’t stop coming.   Our neighbors still have eggs we have given them.

#7:  Nesting boxes?  Forget it.  My ladies lay their eggs underneath the boxes and they all use the same corner.  Inside the nesting boxes it is much darker than underneath but they are too darn lazy to hop up there.

#8:  Our dog is very protective of the hens.   We had two birds of prey land in one of our trees.  We couldn’t tell what they were because the sun was behind them and you couldn’t see them very well.  After landing on separate branches and then hopping around to other branches they finally joined up on one branch and stared for 15 minutes at the coop.  It’s like they were casing the joint and then got together to discuss what they found out.  The excitement on the ground was a site to see.  The rooster started making a weird noise and all the hens scooted under the shed.  The rooster then stood out in the open all puffed up and kept spreading his wings.  Billie Jean noticed the birds before anyone and started growling at the birds and continued to growl till they left.

Well that’s all for now.


Dan Shaw, future chicken farmer and entrepreneur. 

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4 Responses to Guest Post: Our Fearless Chicken Farmer

  1. Cylly says:

    Thanks for the update and picture of your lovely flock! One does learn many things in a new role. Another lesson is: don’t put eggs in your sweatshirt pocket. You are guaranteed to smash them! Then you have lost your eggs plus you have a yucky mess to clean up.
    Our chickens love a melon that has been cut open, especially on a hot day. I’m amazed how they eat it right down to the rind until there is just a flimsy skin left. Our rooster starts his “chook, chook, chook” to the girls whenever we come out of the house because he knows we will be bringing scraps and snacks!

  2. Glory Lennon says:

    Wow, the troubles of a new chicken farmer…too many fresh-off-the-nest eggs! Wish I lived closer. I could help you there. I’d trade you a dozen eggs for a dozen or so cookies. 😦

  3. Laura says:

    Wow, they are home and settled; wonderful! I hate the idea of fresh eggs like that going to waste in your fridge. Is there a local place that provides food for needy folks you could donate them too. They are treasures!!! Wish I could help you.
    Love that the dog was aware of birds of prey in the trees. I wouldn’t have expected that. Foxes beware too. Lucky chickens to live at your house.

  4. Dan says:

    Cylly I’ll fess up and admit I also put some eggs in my pants pocket. You see there was some things I wanted to get done outside before bringing the eggs in. Well you can imagine what happended to the 5 eggs that where in my pocket. Yep, everyone of them. (Please don’t tell Beth I was so stupid)

    Glory, mail the cookies and I’ll mail the eggs.

    Laura, we tried to give eggs to the local food bank but they have no means to store or distribute them. They only want canned and dry goods. We don’t have a local soup kitchen in our town and the nearest is a 45 minute drive away. We have been making quiche and freezing it and that did use up a bunch of them. But they are slowing building up again. Beth suggested we could start preserving them but I can’t see no sense in that if we keep getting them. Maybe in the fall when they stop laying so many.

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