Saturday, November 19, 2011

To the Chicken Soup Factory

Chickens from the same flock who didn't even make it to the laying stage at the scene of an earlier slaughter...
Tim and Annie's seven chickens, who have entertained us for several seasons and lived peaceably and productively on the farm, are nearing their end. There's been a sudden decline in egg production, from six eggs a day to three, and so they've been deemed unworthy of winter care.

We're chicken-sitting this weekend while Tim and Annie are out East for the holiday, and today Steve brought in the three eggs. One is puny, another is thin-shelled, and the third is quite large. It's too bad you can't tell which one is still laying the large eggs! Their fates are inextricably joined, in the same way they move together in a small flock throughout the day.

It's actually pretty good timing on their part. It saves Tim a winter of feeding them and keeping their water from freezing, and they don't have to be cooped up all winter in the barn. Not that the barn is a bad place-- they'll miss the full renovation to a furniture-making shop. And Tim did build them a glassed-in porch for sunny winter days.

Of course, since they've been freely ranging for three years now, they are no longer worth eating. Once killed, all they will be good for is chicken broth or soup. I was offered the chickens for this purpose, but I'm not really willing to prepare them. Too many feathers!

I'm glad at times like these for civilization: cartons of organic chicken broth and the Kuebelbecks' eggs at the local co-op market. Next spring, along with all the other new stuff, we'll have another batch of chicks on the farm, and with them, an abundance of fresh eggs again.

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