Saturday, September 18, 2010

Which Came First

The Chicken or the Egg?

Finally, British Scientists cracked the puzzle of the age old question - the chicken - as reported on Fox News in July this year.

Eggs I had on hand were not a part of the massive recall due to salmonella last month. However, the stories about the filth and conditions at the egg producers involved about made me ill, anyway.
I am becoming more and more wary about the food I eat, where it comes from and who prepares it. Which is why I am so happy to now have a local source for eggs. And good, brown eggs at that.

My grand-niece, Jesse, has her own small, back yard flock here in town - raised from chicks last spring. All but five found a home in the country. Red, Goldie, Speckle and the Soul Sisters currently reside in a lovely coop in her back yard.
I have told her she isn't charging enough for a dozen eggs ($1.00). She plans to charge more as the eggs get larger. I think she could get $3.00 or $4.00 a dozen, easily. She says she is saving her egg money to buy a farm. I think that is a worthy goal. She could have quite a flock of chickens even on a small acreage.
(Jesse, the day's production, Red and the two Soul Sisters pictured.)

When I was growing up, we mostly raised white leghorn chickens. They laid white eggs.
The last chickens my mom raised were a mixed flock, but most of them were brown egg layers.
Here two of them are pictured in the hen house pen surrounded by those pretty Hollyhocks Mom grew.

When we moved back home, I tried to raise chickens - I bought a couple dozen black chicks (Australorps, perhaps?), keeping them in an oval water tank under heat lamps in Mom's basement until they were large enough to move to the hen house.
Unfortunately, as hard as we tried, we couldn't make the old hen house varmint proof. Before we had a single egg, foxes, weasels, or some other raiders made off with all our chickens.

I actually have two sources for brown eggs - my son, Doug, raises layers in Casey. It's just further to drive to get them. He also raises broilers to sell and for their own consumption.
This picture of him and 'Rosie' was taken when he still had the acreage west of Redfield.
I think he usually raises Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds. The huge variety of breeds of chickens fascinates me.

Early last spring, or maybe it was late last winter, my daughter, Kari, and her partner, Ken, were surprised by this little chicken which just showed up on their door step. It was obviously some one's pet - had no reservations about flying up on Ken's shoulder. It hung around for awhile - sleeping inside the house in the cat carrier at night and going back outside during the day. It finally found its way home or at least on to someone else's back yard. Portland allows raising chickens. I think the limit is three per household. I'm not sure what breed this chicken was - Araucana, perhaps?

Finally, a last chicken story - twenty-some years ago I bought this turquoise blue ceramic planter at a garage sale when we lived in WDM. I had it on the front porch alongside a similarly colored pinch pot Kari had made in 4th grade. She thought this planter was ugly, kitschy, had no redeeming social value what-so-ever.
I kidded her at the time saying that I bet by the time she was 30 she would love this little blue rooster and that I planned to give it to her for her 30th birthday.
In the meantime, we moved back home, the rooster got packed away in a box lost in the garage and Kari began collecting Roosters because they are her Chinese Zodiac Symbol. I tried and failed to find the ceramic piece in time for her 30th birthday.
Then came our big move two years ago. It involved going through every box, every out-building, every hidey-hole. I found the rooster and the little pinch pot. Taking no chances of them being lost again, I wrapped both securely and shipped them off to Oregon with a "Do Not Open until May 31, 2009" label. Ten years late, but even more appreciated on her 40th birthday. Right, Kari?

1 comment:

  1. My sister, who keeps chickens here in Portland, says that Ms. Chikken was a Bantam Americauna (an offshoot of the Araucana).

    My sister has something like 9 chickens in her coop. She just says she's keeping the other 6 for her neighbors.