Friday, August 20, 2010

Chicken Whisperers

The Homestead Wannabes are at it again! Our latest within city limits homesteading adventure came in the form of 4 old stewing hens. The last time I visited family, my husband and Grandpa had cooked up a deal that involved me tying four hens in a gunny sacks (with air holes cut in them) to the back of a motorcycle trailer. You say the word "free" and my husband is in. I drove the three hours home with these chickens. One of them perished on the journey, so we immediately butchered it as soon as we got home. NOT, however, before my kids had a chance to sufficiently practice their homeschool dissecting skills. For being in-town kids, they sure don't have a fear of dead (or live animals).  Notice the chickens are tethered to stakes in the yard? I'll tell you more about that later in the post. Here is an egg they found in the hen that hadn't been fully formed yet. Fascinating stuff to this homeschooling family!Into the stew pot the hen went. I made some fresh chicken noodle soup. Yum! Older chickens make a very rich broth that is super tasty. Click here for my basic homemade broth recipe.

So the rest of the story is that my husband promised me, when I agreed to bring these darlin's home, he would butcher them right away. Well, we only got the one butchered the night I got home from vacation (last thing I wanted to do), then he promised me he'd get the others butchered the next day. A week went by before he actually got around to it. In the meantime, he had tried tethering the chickens to stakes in the yard. They kept getting lose. The lucky thing is that they never tried to get out of our great big fenced in yard. The fence is only four ft. high, so I was astonished that they didn't try to fly over the fence. 

The best part was Michael "herding" chickens. We had to keep them in his shop at night so the neighborhood cats wouldn't attack the hens. You should have seen Michael trying to get them in all by himself. It was hilarious! I finally went out and helped him after I had enough amusement for the evening. I'm so naughty! Michael wouldn't let me take pictures :( It would have been great on film, too. I now call him the "Chicken Whisperer". 

The last straw came a week later when I woke up to the sound of chickens clucking desperately early in the morning. Michael had let them out early in the morning. I went outside to chase one of the hens off the deck and she wouldn't move. I looked over and there was the neighbor's cat, checkin' out the chicken. I called Michael and told him he had to take care of them that night or the cats would do it for him! At least those chickens had a last hoorah as they roamed our huge backyard for their final week of life. They are now safe and sound in our freezer. Good thing too because I was starting to get attached. We live within the city limits and chickens aren't allowed. Oh well, it was certainly an interesting week for these homestead wannabes!

Many Blessings,


The Real Me! said...

Oh I can so picture the chasing of the chickens. You all are a lot braver than I. My husband is a country boy but I've never had to butcher anything. I like mine already on a piece of styrofoam and wrapped in plastic. LOL!
Have a great weekend.

OurLilFullFam said...

That is so funny, chasing chickens!

That is funny about the cats too! Don't they know they are supposed to leave the chickens alone and chase mice and rats?? They are city cats for sure too :)

I am glad you got them into your freezer! Yum!


Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

I LOVE the egg, and staking chickens:)

I had a time when I was chasing about 50 darn chickens off the deck waiting for my husband to get a pen built.... oh the days....

I'm bookmarking this post! We have lots of stew chickens!!!

Kimberly said...

Believe it or not, we are allowed to own 3 chickens within our city limits! Our town used to be a big chicken farming area. Although I couldn't handle the butchering part, I'd love the eggs and just the chickens themselves, they make be happy. Sort of like sunflowers and daisies! Some day we will have chickens...

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

This post is just too funny! I wish I could have seen the "Chicken Whisperer" in action!

I hate dealing with chickens. It brings back memories of childhood!

skeeteror said...

That is too funny! I can just see Michael tethering those poor hens to a stake! Reminds me of days in the Hollow! I miss my chickens and the fresh eggs. Your mom talked me into buying my little baby chicks for my birthday one year! Thanks for the memory jogger and enjoy those chicken and noodles! ~Bev~

Chris in FL--Joyful Mother said...

Ha ha...that's funny. Great story :)

Oh and saw you were wondering about my kids winning the Championship....yay..they did win! And they loved their time in Oregon. They didn't get to go to the coast due to no time. They did work themselves very hard and won the National Champ trophy! Yay!! Thanks for asking. :)

Camille said...

Oh. Dear. Me. You brought them home on the back of the motorbike? That must have been an adventure!! How wonderful that you have that good meat in your freezer...and that you got a pot of soup out of that first one right away. YUM! You were getting attached?? I'm thinking I would fun it would be to have fresh eggs each morning to collect. But...I don't think we are allowed chickens here either. :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Freckles and Frogs said...

Ha ha ha... this post had me laughing so hard! I love it! One reason I thought it was so darn funny is that I remember the great chicken debate a few years ago and that La Grande is Live-Chicken Free Zone. Our neighbor has about 10, and they roam free thru our yards sometimes and the boys love to chase them!

Oh thanks for the laughs today!

Connie said...

You had a lot of free entertainment and wonderful free food!

Regina @VestPocketFamilyFarm said...

oh, oh, ROTFLOL, tethered chickens, sniff, chortle. I am so glad the chickens went home with you. We just weren't getting around to the butchering.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

For clarification, I didn't bring them back on a motorbike, but tied to an empty motorcycle trailer. It must have looked pretty weird to those vehicles I was passing, LOL.

The hens weren't laying anymore, that is how we ended up with them. I grew up with chickens, so I really am not thrilled to have to take care of them again, but I was surprised at how attached I was becoming.

Camille said...

LOL Jackie ~ I knew they were in the trailer, but it sounded funnier to say it the way I did. Regardless...I think it must have been a shock to the poor things! :)

Have a great night!

RaD said...

Oh to have chickens in my life again... NO WAY! And I wouldn't have wanted to be the one butchering them either. But I'm sure they tasted pretty good.

It's funny, though, I don't ever remember having problems with our cats wanting to attack our chickens. Foxes, coyotes, hawks, and raccoons, but never our cats. Maybe it's because we always had a rooster?


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