My nuggets are coming up on 5 years old. They faithfully lay fresh eggs daily, or nearly daily. I am thankful to YHVH-God for this blessing.
Every autumn they molt (loose their old feathers before growing new feathers), then they stop laying eggs for a winter rest. When they turned four, I was told that their egg-laying days were over and I should kill them and start over with fresh hens. I tried to get my head wrapped around that idea, I thought it was the right thing to do, we couldn’t afford to have them as pets. I just do not have the heart to turn them into soup. Even if they stop laying eggs, and honestly, we expect that will happen, they are tame, fairly calm and make fantastic compost for the gardens. Ray has built a chicken tractor that fits on our 4×8 square foot gardens. Just a couple of days in the tractor on any raised bed and the girls clean it up, stir it up and get it perfectly ready for planting.
Whenever I weed, they start dancing for joy. City life is safe, but maybe a little boring for hens. When I weed, they know they will be getting a bucket full of interesting greens (weeds) with fun prizes inside! Beetles, fat worms, pre-crushed snails, pill bugs and anything else I can find for them.
Most of the kale and comfrey we grow at the Toy Box goes to the girls. They still get a little bit of scratch. We cannot afford organic scratch and we do not have enough land on our city lot to raise corn to feed them through the winter, so we hope that the comfrey is enough to protect them from potential damage from industrial scratch. Chickens are an important element of urban farming. It isn’t just about the eggs. What they do to heal the city soil amazes us. The dead dirt that our house sits on has come alive in large part because of the nuggets. You should really consider adding them to your garden. They do so much more then lay eggs… but they do give fresh eggs, and Ray just collected four of them in December. They taste just as good as eggs from spring hens.
This coming season is the Shemitah Year, the Sabbath rest for the land. We will not be doing any planting but we are dreaming about adding an aquaponic system, expanding the Back to Eden area and maybe checking into raising a couple of rabbits. And there will probably be three or four new chicks to add to the Toy Box. There is more to do on a city farm then grow tomatoes.
December 8, 2014 Overcast sky with a 40% chance those clouds will rain on us. Sunrise at 7:45, high temperature of 55 and a low of 49 but the wet will prevent us from feeling really warm. Sunset at 4:16 giving us eight hours and 31 minutes of gray daylight. Amazing how well the lawn grows when it is so dark!