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Monday, July 20, 2015

Selling My Chickens

Recently, we had a boy contact me (through his mother) asking if we had any chickens to sell.

As it happens, I wanted to sell my black Australorps. I invited them over and showed them the birds. A mutual friend had encouraged him to contact me, but I didn't want him to feel obligated to buy my birds.

It turns out he's in 4-H. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a youth organization that strives to teach kids through doing. It's most commonly practiced in rural areas. 

Had 4-H been offered in the inner city of Chicago back when I was a kid, I would've been all over it in a heartbeat. Alas, I too learned by doing, but for the most part it was trial and error. A lot of error. LOL.

We were glad to help this kid anyway we could because we appreciate children wanting to get hands-on experience in something other than texting and Instagram. His mother insisted that he also buy our 'chicken tractor', a movable pen so chickens can pasture in safety.

Greg built ours. 


We don't use it anymore because frankly, we're too lazy to move it around the pasture. When the garden is through for the year, we usually let the chickens roam free. They're good about returning home every night. In five years, we've only lost two birds. One to a coyote and another to a car.

I was surprised they wanted the chicken tractor since he's already building a coop, but they have the acreage for a movable pen so it'll work well for them. Besides, he's young and won't grouse about hauling it around the way we do. Ha!

We've got a few eggs from the Australorps in the incubator. I shouldn't have done it, but darn it, I like those birds. They're so well behaved compared to the Marans.

I'm still on the fence whether to continue with the Australorps or the Marans. 

I'll know by Wednesday if any of the eggs hatched. Wish me luck.

Have you ever been in 4-H or known someone who has? How was it? I'm envious of anyone who grew up on a farm. How much further ahead I would've been if I had had a mentor.

Have you ever mentored someone in anything? What was it?


36 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I sometimes wish I was better than I am at gardening and being out in nature, etc. Some of that is from growing up in the city, but most of it is probably just my personality. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

That was nice of you to lend the kid a hand. I wish I had chickens. They are allowed within city limits, the guy behind us has some RI Reds (yay), but with my dogs they'd be dead. I also think I'm too busy to keep chickens. If I wasn't writing and had a steady income I think it would be easier.

How's your hand?

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I was FFA in Texas. Yee ha. I raised Hereford calves.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Me in 4H? Hahahaha! I never did like gardening. My mother had a small one in the back yard. I always avoided it. Too many bugs. Yeah, I'm a wimp. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Madeline: I swear, everything I learned was from the school of hard knocks. Like you, I grew up in the city. My first taste of country living was a senior trip to an Amish farm. From then on, I was hooked.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: We gave him a set of nesting boxes we were no longer using too. Greg builds nothing but the best, so they're going to be a lot nicer than anything he'll find in a store.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: No kidding! That's so cool...and brave!

I'd probably be too much of a chicken to raise big animals like that. The largest animal I ever raised was a hog.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: If I have any real enemies, they are bugs (the kind that bite/sting).

Right now I am nursing two spider bites, five ant bites, numerous mosquito bites and one weed that implanted me with tiny irritating hairs that feel like daggers. Ah, the good life. LOL!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My nephews enjoyed 4H. It was really good for them. I did grow up on a farm and my father seemed to know everything about everything. Not just animals but building, machinery and gardening. Only as I got older did I realize he was always a student, learning from others and from the farm magazines we always had in the house.
Susan Says

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: That's very true. There's always something new to learn on the farm. But it's awfully nice to find an oldtimer who can save you a few hard knocks by sharing some of his experience.

Rebekah Loper said...

4-H!

As a matter of fact, I was in 4-H. From the time I was 13 - the summer after high school.

The club I was in was very fortunate - it was founded by a gentleman and his wife who owned 80 acres in the smack-dab middle of town (probably from before it was the middle of town), and so the club had access to property that most people just didn't. It meant that a lot of people who otherwise would not have been able to experience gardening and raising animals were able to.

We were also one of the few clubs in the area that had our own clubhouse, but as such that meant we also had monthly dues to cover the upkeep of said clubhouse. Members were able to rent pens/barn stalls for minimal fees, too, for their livestock projects.

As the technology age advanced, they were also able to rent some of that acreage out for a cell tower, and as far as I know it's still there today earning them passive income. (And the club was able to start offering scholarships for regional and national 4-H events that local members qualified for, but couldn't afford.)

I was never able to do any livestock projects, personally. My family's funds were too tight for that. But I was able to learn a lot from friends in the club who had livestock, and it was definitely my first exposure to chickens. And goats.

Mainly, I did sewing as my project(s). I frequently took first place/reserve champion/grand champion ribbons home from county-wide events. I served as a club officer for three years, as well. And many friends from 4-H years are still some of the best friends I have today.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: Not to demean people who are computer savvy and expert pencil pushers, but I never found that kind of work very challenging.

Now getting an onion to bulb to a big sweet globe, THAT is a feat. And it's practical.

Knowing how to farm and raise animals means I can feed my family. What can be more useful than that?

You were very lucky.

Lynn Viehl said...

I woke up with hives on both arms yesterday so I feel your itchy pain. :( Have no idea what set them off, but I'm thinking I brushed against something while out walking in the woods that morning. Use masking tape to pull out the prickly weed hairs (if you haven't already).

I don't do any formal mentoring but I do give writing workshops at public schools, and try to help when someone contacts me for private advice on career or creative problems. I think we all should lend a hand and pass along what we know to the next generations.

betty said...

That is a cool contraption for the moving the chickens! I wish the boy luck with the chickens! We bought a chicken recently from a Future Farmer of America person here who had raised chicken and then had them slaughtered as a fundraiser. First chicken I had that was home raised so to speak. It was delicious the way hubby barbecued it.

I did mentor a young lady back when we lived in Montana. It was mainly faith based but also helped her with other things she was going through. Thoroughly enjoyed it; I should think about mentoring again.

betty

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: Having followed you for so long I know how generous you are with your time. I've always been grateful for your kindness.

re: hives
Ugh. Awful. I hope it doesn't last long. If not, there's always Benadryl.

Great tip though about using tape for hairy weed prickles! I wish I had thought of it! I used mineral oil to loosen them out. Fortunately, they weren't in too deep.

Maria Zannini said...

Betty: Having raised a lot of our own meat, I can honestly say, there is nothing like organic meat.

re: mentoring
We all need a little mentoring once in a while.

Angela Brown said...

4-H sounds like it's very interesting in regards to the hands on nature of learning.

Sarah Ahiers said...

As a kid I so desperately wanted to be in 4h but my mom said no. She worked nights and had to sleep during the day which also meant no girl scouts or brownies. Siiiiiigh.

Diane Carlisle said...

I think it's amazing when I hear of young kids wanting to learn about things first hand. Any more, put them on the internet and they watch Youtube videos on how to short cut things, never really gaining any experience on real world things and why we do the things we do. There's so much knowledge to be gained through doing it, the retention level that you have when this happens is amazing. Otherwise, you just move along to the next thing that never really "sticks" in your brain and satiates your curiosity to spark ones passion.

Love it!

Shelley Munro said...

I've heard of 4H. When I was 10 I had a penpal who was in 4H and I heard about some of the activities. It's sort of like Brownies and Guides. Glad your birds have gone to a good home.

Jenny Schwartz said...

4H sounds great! I can just see the kid though. Went out for a couple of chickens, came home with everything! That's so generous of you :)

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: When I was a kid I had always wished it had been available to our area. Guess they didn't see what good a city kid would want with how to grow plants.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: That's tough. But you're making up for it now!

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: Agree absolutely. It makes me wonder what the state of our world will be in when only a small handful know how nature works.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I was glad he got them too. Someone else had asked to buy them too, but he beat her to it. He's so excited about learning. It made me happy for him.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Well, he did have to pay for the tractor, but it was a fraction of what it's worth.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I grew up on a farm, but we didn't have chickens. My Mom kept them while growing up, and anytime anyone suggested them, she'd shake her head and say, "Chickens are mean." I guess she had a bad experience or two. :) Even now, she'll say it if someone mentions raising chickens, and I find myself saying it out of habit, even though I have no evidence of my own. I think it every time you do a chicken post! I guess she had a more irritable breed growing up.

Anna Soliveres said...

That is one nifty chicken coop! :) I

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: That's true. And not just the breed. Sometimes it's just the chicken. We had a Rhode Island Red who turned mean at the same time his spurs grew like daggers.

One day he started attacking. I'd say that was the end for him, but that's the start of another story. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Anna: Greg is handy. He can see a picture and build just about anything.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I know several people who have done 4-H. I didn't, but I did have some rabbits and accidentally raised more than I planned. Plus, we raised beef - just one or two at a time. We never named them, and although I think some breeds of cow are sweet, I've also been chased to a fence and had the cow ram the fence after I climbed through it - and I fed that cow every day, plus made sure it had water and a good salt lick. After that, I was terrified to enter the pasture and the two stall barn was away from the fence. I think that's how I became the best sprinter in my neighborhood which was slowly becoming a part of the city in the time that I spent there. Fields gave way to housing developments and apartment buildings and all farm animals, including rabbits, were against the city laws.
I love your thoughts on 4-H, farming, and raising chickens. Plus, that's an awesome chicken tractor! :)

Maria Zannini said...

Tyrean: I have a friend who used to tease me when I got near her cows, promising me that they were very gentle. But when you see that much beef coming at you, I'd rather not take the chance. :)

The biggest animal I ever raised was a hog. The meanest was a male goat. After he gored me, he was renamed BBQ. Soon after, he ended up in the freezer.



Mike Keyton said...

Just back from a cottage in North Wales surrounded by sheep, quite a few ducks, but no chickens. I did however see a sheep roll on its back and waggle his feet in the air before standing up again, looking around, and then rejoining his group. I tried to comment earlier but there was no connectivity.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Silly sheep.

I'd like some ducks, but Greg said no. He doesn't want to build them a pond. :(

M. K. Theodoratus said...

4-H? That was for country kids. I lived in town. Still, I got lots of experience with chickens, not only raising/caring for them, but eating them. Ate so much chicken it took me about 30 years after I left home before I'd eat the stuff voluntarily.

Actually, I think it was more about cage free chickens having some flavor, like I remember a chicken was supposed to taste.

Maria Zannini said...

Kay: I never knew chicken could have so much flavor until I raised my own.

Unfortunately, to have cheap food, corporations have to cut corners by force feeding animals with corn and antibiotics. Raise them fast and send them out for processing.