I don’t know if I should be proud to tell you this, or ashamed — but apparently in certain circles, I’m known as “The Chicken Guy”…
It all started when my co-worker approached me with a chicken-related question.
Now, if you remember, I’m a software engineer by trade. I spend about 8 hours a day banging my forehead against a keyboard, trying to get various computer programs to work correctly — and the vast majority of folks I’ve worked with over the years haven’t exactly been what I’d call outdoorsy.
In fact, I tend to get quite a few sideways glances when I tell co-workers about our “rustic” life out here on the One Acre Lott.
And really, who can blame them?
I probably stick out like a sore thumb when I come walking through the doors of our pristine office building — sometimes with bits of straw in my hair… or mud spatter on the cuffs of my pants… or manure on my shoes…
I do consider myself a generally clean person, and I really do try to be all neat and tidy and all that — but when you’ve got animals, sometimes life just happens!
This guy I was telling you about, however, really understands my plight.
He lives in one of those standard “cookie cutter” houses in the suburbs — with neighbors so close on either side, they’re almost within spitting distance. But thanks to his farmgirl wife, he knows what it’s like to tend a small garden and bottle peaches. They even have a tiny chicken coop tucked into a secluded corner of their yard, so he knows all too well what it’s like to furiously scrape chicken poo off your shoes before coming into work. 😉
Like I was saying, this guy approached me a few months ago, wanting to know what I do with my old hens after they quit laying.
As tactfully as I could, I told him that when egg production really drops (usually after 2 or 3 years), our chickens typically end up in the stew pot…
Don’t get me wrong — I truly love our birds, with their funny antics and all the life lessons they’ve taught me. But ya gotta remember, the main reason I keep them is to feed my family. If they aren’t providing eggs, we’re gonna use them for meat.
Much to my surprise, my co-worker seemed to really like my answer (some folks get kinda squeamish when you talk about butchering your own animals).
As a matter of fact, a couple of days later, he approached me again and asked if I’d be interested in dispatching one of his old hens. He said he didn’t want to buy all that feed for her if she wasn’t gonna give him anything in return — and he was pretty certain his kids wouldn’t want to eat any of the meat (since she was kind of a pet to them)…
And so it was that I came home with a fat old hen, primed and ready for the butcher block.
Since that day, I’ve actually dispatched 3 of his chickens, and somehow (I’m still not really sure how), word has spread throughout his entire subdivision. If someone has a chicken that needs a “permanent” home — be it an unproductive hen or an unwanted rooster (or anything in between), they give me a call.
I tell ya, with all the “undesirables” that I get from my co-worker and his neighbors, and the meat birds that we raise ourselves, it definitely keeps things hopping. But I suppose there are worse things in life than being “The Chicken Guy”…