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Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing Cupcake and Oreo

And now for something completely new and different!

My entire married life I have wanted to raise...chickens.  Children are wonderful.  I have those already.  But chickens?  For a little bit of care and a place to stay - plus some feed - you get about a thousand eggs out of a layer hen during its lifetime.

Oreo checks us out.
Now I have them.

"Cupcake" and "Oreo".  The kids named them.  No, Oreo is not black and white.  It's just a name.  (A few months back we dropped dinner to our friends the Whites, and they were debating calling their new puppy Oreo.  The name is cemented in my kids' brains.)  Once Cupcake and Oreo are full-grown, they will feed us.  When they stop producing eggs, they will "feed" us again.  That's right, I'm going to dispatch them, bleed them, pluck them, disembowel them, and butcher them myself.  (I haven't done it before, but I'm going to do it all by myself when it comes time...period.)  So Cupcake and Oreo will eventually be dinner.

I've been reminded that the first rule of owning animals that will be food is that you MUST NOT NAME THEM.  Then they are PETS.  Kids are devastated when their mothers slaughter their pets.  But the advantage of chickens is that they start out all cute and fluffy...and end up feathered, squawky, and WORK.  With a dog, you get attached, and it loves you back.  With a chicken, they're super-cute little chicks, and then they're just plain chickens.  In our case, they're going to be pretty coppery red feathered chickens who lay big brown eggs...prolifically, if the planets are properly aligned.  (They're New Hampshire Reds.  AWE-SOME.)

The Set-Up.
For the moment, Cupcake and Oreo live in a cardboard box with a heat lamp, food and water, a towel, and a bar for roosting...all resting on a sheet of screening over some newspaper.  That's the whole setup.  Fresh water in the dispenser every day, make sure they have a supply of food, and clean out the box every couple days (like today).  That's it.

Today I clean up chicken poo.  Let me tell you, for a SAHM and writer, I have never been so excited in my entire life to clean up someone else's poo.  I'm sure that excitement will wane over time - like, with the next cleaning - but until then, betwixt square foot gardens, SAHMhood, writing, and poultry named after dessert, I'm going to be happily busy around the house.
The ladies.

More to come on Cupcake and Oreo...12 days old today.  Oh, and so is fixing a "pasted up" chick bottom.  Google it.  Fun times.

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