I began writing a comment in response to my husband’s blog post about one of our stunning roosters, which we need to find a home for, along with all the other roosters that one ends up when you order a straight run of chicks from a hatchery, or even when you let nature take it’s course and allow a couple of your hens to become broody and hatch new chicks. Both my husband and I have been in such constant, tortuous pain, that we are now severely downsizing our flock. As many of you know I am also going out of state for a massive brain surgery in exactly one month. We simply can’t keep up with the number of chickens we have.
Unfortunately this handsome fellow is one that will have to go to another farm, even though at 4 months old he is already displaying many of the features we thought we would have to breed into the flock, and learn more about chicken genetics in order to create. It saddens me that I have been in such unrelenting pain that I no longer know many of the hens and roosters we have in the back 1/2 acre. The amount of steps from my bed or computer where I try to make any money to go towards brain surgery, to where the coops and chickens are may as well be a trek through the Sahara Desert for all the difficulties it presents me.
I remember vividly the year my husband and I caught chicken fever. We had recently watched “Food Inc.” and my husband bought me a wonderful book, ‘The Urban Homestead.” We had mostly stopped eating nasty fast food and meals that were barely identifiable as food in their frozen food containers, but at the time were all we could afford. We flew by the seat of our pants with our first flock- one rooster and two hens in the middle of nowhere, with wide open desert, and many chicken predators on the ground and in the air. Amazingly they were never hurt or injured and they provided us much joy, as well as a lesson in what things to do differently the next time around. They also made us absolutely positive that no matter what else we did in the future we wanted chickens to be a part of our lives. This self-enforced parameter made it impossible to find any land outside of the evilly hot and drought-ridden desert. Places where plants grow, the scenery is green and livestock can graze on pasture, which cuts feed costs dramatically go for a premium. We tried for a year to find a place that was both affordable and would allow chickens. The place we found is our (rented) homestead now.
It’s heartbreaking that once again, due to my upcoming surgery and my dear husband’s constant, terrible pain (which will likely only be relieved with a spinal surgery after I am healed) we must thin our flock aggressively. I hope someone will offer a wonderful home for this beautiful rooster. If he is anything like his father who I have bestowed “Best Rooster Daddy In The World” title upon (yes, I am biased) then he will father many chicks which he will be patient with (Big Red Oed often takes over hen duties; teaching chicks to drink from the water bowls, calling them, and the hens over whenever he finds a special treat and most endearing of all, he lets the chicks climb all over him, just like our kids did when they were smaller with my husband). He deserves a good home and some lady friends of his own. I’d like to keep at least him-along with Red who we will never let go of- but that would involve too much inbreeding and the resulting weakening of their blood lines and health.
I can’t wait for the day that we can regroup and restart our farm. We’ve learned a lot over the past three years here, but the main thing we needed to learn and do was to make a profit. Making money at this requires a lot of time, planning, marketing, selling. Without any of these things, and because we have no energy to keep up our farm will be a lot smaller soon, but as I keep reminding myself, this is not the end. When my husband and I are healed we’re going to have an amazing homestead. Heck, I may surprise everyone, including myself and actually learn how to keep vegetables and herbs alive!
Raising animals and farming is never an easy profession or hobby, but it has been a dream of ours for so long that we just keep limping through- physically and literally- hoping to make it through to a point where we will make money selling eggs and laying hens. For now, we need to keep as many hens as possible, so that our Alpha Rooster Big Red Oed is happy. Our farm is going into hibernation mode until my husband and I can get at least some of our pain under control. Once we are well I already have such fantastic ideas for our little farm! One day…
For more information, please visit my husband’s post about this gorgeous rooster on his `blog: http://grimmjest.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/success-in-genetics/