Chickenshit

wonderpet

Cute, isn’t it?  Sweet little baby chick.

Poor little baby chick. It had the very bad luck to be purchased by the Naugler family sometime in the spring of 2014.

killed

This may be the only sensible thing I have ever seen Nicole write about animals.  They need to get rid of the dogs.  Yep. They do. Those dogs broke into a pen and killed chicks.  That is grounds for being gone.  Nobody with livestock can have dogs around that kill livestock.

But no.  The chicks die.

Chickens, for anyone who doesn’t know about them, are probably the easiest sort of livestock for beginners to deal with. They’re easy enough to care for that lots of people have them in urban settings if their local ordinances permit.

All they need is some basic housing, a bit of chicken feed and water, a nice cozy place to lay eggs, and security so they don’t become dinner for some predator.

And there are lots of predators who very much like chicken on the menu.

It’s simple to find all sorts of advice about chickens online. There is really no excuse whatever for allowing dogs to kill not one, but two different clutches of baby chicks.

Honestly, if you can’t manage chickens, you really need to give up.

But they tried again.

bought adult hens

I am going to make some guesses here. One of the children bought the hens.  In our area, a young pullet just old enough to begin laying goes for between $10 and $15.  We could sell them all day for $10 each.

I really doubt that one of the kids spent between $80 and $100 for chickens.

I bet they were either free or at a very reduced price.

There is only one reason people sell adult hens for a reduced price.

They are old, spent hens.

Hell, we have five here right now that the Nauglers can have for free. They are approximately four years old and have quit laying altogether. They are only still alive because we’ve been too busy to take the time to butcher them.

A young pullet begins to lay eggs at around 7 months old, give or take a bit depending on the breed. She, just like most female egg-producing creatures, is born with all the eggs in her ovaries that she will ever produce. (That includes people.  When women run out of eggs, they go into menopause.)

If you butcher a hen who is currently laying, it’s an interesting thing to see.  [Warning: slightly graphic photo] The eggs are formed on a sort of string.  Little bitty things like yellow pearls (yolks) on a strand run down their backs to the cloaca (that’s where the egg comes out), getting bigger and bigger as they go along with the egg white forming around them, and then at the very last, the shell is formed, at first soft and then hardening.

And when these young pullets start to lay, they do so sort of sporadically at first, and then more regularly, but they never lay an egg every 24 hours.  Some breeds lay more eggs per year than other breeds, but the typical backyard chicken lays about four eggs a week.  And that’s when she’s young.

So at their best, the Nauglers’ eight hens might have laid 32 eggs a week, assuming that they were young enough to do that ( very doubtful) and that anyone could actually find these eggs on their massive 28 acres of land (very, very doubtful). There are two of us, and we have seven young hens laying and that is barely enough. We’ve gotten along with five, but had to do without deviled eggs for the most part and I occasionally had to buy a dozen at the store.

As hens age, they produce fewer and fewer eggs. So a two-year-old hen will lay fewer eggs than she did the year before and more than she’s going to next year.

Not only that, but the eggs get larger and larger. Little pullet eggs are tiny, and eggs from old hens are often very large.

eggs
From Blessed Little Homestead Facebook page

This is the other reason I suspect the Nauglers have old hens. A young hen doesn’t lay eggs that large.  Sometimes old hens will lay little tiny eggs (especially after molting) but mostly they are huge and get larger and fewer as she ages.

chickens adult hens

So, here are the replacements for the poor massacred chicks. Some mixed laying hens, various breeds.  Definitely not pullets.  Well-developed combs.  They’ve got some age on them.

They’re in some sort of pen, but it looks like that is in a vehicle.

Naturally, when they got them home, they allowed the chickens to “free-range,” because everyone thinks that is just so natural and wonderful and it’s simply how it’s done, isn’t it?

Well, maybe.

As I’ve mentioned, there are a lot of critters (dogs, coyotes, raccoons, possums, weasels) who very much enjoy a chicken dinner. We don’t like finding our good laying hens dead, so we house ours securely in a chicken tractor, and move them frequently, and let them “free-range” behind electric netting for their own safety.

We have a sort of unwritten contract with our livestock. They provide us with eggs, or milk, or meat or whatever it is, and in return, we make sure they get to live without fear, in a safe environment, with access to plentiful food and clean water.  We take it very seriously. Their well-being is our responsibility.

Modern chickens, like modern dairy animals, have been highly bred over the centuries and bear little resemblance to the wild jungle fowl they are descended from.  Just turning them out to run about in the woods and take care of themselves is okay until it’s not okay.

stopped eggs

They stopped collecting eggs while the children were in state custody because they were no longer on the land at all.  Nobody was there. The chickens, along with all the other animals, just fended for themselves.

They’d had these eight chickens for nine months at this point, and one of the hens managed to put together a clutch of eggs and hatch them out.  Good for her.  She did so under the worst of circumstances.

The fact that the family was “so excited” tells me this hadn’t happened before, but as I’ve said, these are old hens.

And it’s odd, but you don’t see many photos of chickens, or mention of them or photos of eggs or mention of them on the Blessed Little Homestead page. I really had to hunt to find them.  There were two photos of the newly hatched chicks with their mother, but none as they supposedly grew up.   I wonder who ate them.  I bet it’s just as hard to find their eggs as it was for me to find their photos.

This is not the optimal way, by anyone’s standards, to keep chickens for eggs.  If you just want some chickens to run around  your property and make it look all homesteady,  and hear a rooster crow from time to time, and take some farmy sustainable-looking photos for your blog so people will say, “Oh, gee, I wish I could live like you do,” well, yeah, this will work okay until something kills them all.

But if you’re trying to be “sustainable” (a basically impossible task, as we’ll talk about later), you need to do a wee bit more, and it involves some work and money.  I’m not sure that it’s possible to save any money raising chickens (for eggs).  I doubt we do. However, the luxury of farm-fresh eggs is worth it. There is a definite difference in the way the eggs look and the way that an egg, over easy, for breakfast tastes.

It’s also amazing and wonderful to incubate eggs and watch the chicks hatch and then brood them. It’s a biology lesson in styrofoam.  It would make a super experience for children, but it won’t happen at the Blessed Little Homestead for lots of reasons.

Yes, they have chickens running around their property. And yes, they probably gather a few eggs here and there.  No, they are not keeping chickens in a way that will provide that huge family with a reasonable supply of eggs.

The chickens are more of the mythology.

21 thoughts on “Chickenshit”

  1. Straight up

    I know chickens.

    As a youngster I delved into game chickens. I learned a lot.

    Now we have barnyard “dunghills” (goes back to my days with game-fowl)

    But the bottom line is easy, Raising poultry in Kentucky is a fight against natural predators. Ya gotta outsmart them and beat them.

    It’s not easy but we’ve figured it out.

    It’s called real homesteading.

    Real homesteading.

  2. Kudos Blessed Little Blog for a great homeschool lesson on chickens. Not only are you very articulate, but obviously not a newbie around raising and keeping farm animals.

    I have wondered about the status of the Nauglers’ rabbits, and chickens. We don’t hear a “peep” from them about it.

  3. Raising chickens and recently turkeys has been a massive exercise in staying ahead of the predators. Shooting predators does not work, so I have to stay on top of fencing. The coop I built I originally thought was predator proof, had an owl squeeze through a vent and decapitate 3 hens. Lesson learned there, hardware cloth. I had a large pen (now larger) that I let them out of to eat the massive amounts of grasshoppers. I went inside to do some laundry, and by the time I came out, 2 of the neighborhood free ranging mutts had crawled under the perimeter fence, and killed 17. Lesson learned that day involved me going to the humane society and getting a dog.
    Now, we have secured coop, large pen, and a larger fenced area that will soon accommodate the new gardens, the orchard, and the pig pens. I will add to the fencing on the north side after the soil is plowed and disced. Making a whole garden just to finish the pigs.
    I still anticipate losses, mostly from hawks, but the turkeys have really put a dent in that. They attack hawks. Who knew?
    Also contemplating some Toulouse geese, as another alarm system.

  4. One really big problem with poultry is that once the predators learn where the buffet is served, they come back over and over again, just like we do to a restaurant we like.

    Electricity works wonders, but you have to remember to turn it on, and it might not be the best idea around small children.

  5. They do, so I have to be vigilant. I often don’t have an electric fence, for myriad reasons. That will soon change. I only have a 100 amp service, so I’m shopping for a really good solar charger. Probably several.

  6. Thanks so much Blessed Little Blog. I loved learning about the chickens. I have helped raise beef cattle, pigs, sheep but never chickens. We raised Emus one winter. They are nasty! My kids loved the animals even though they cried on market day.

    As you mentioned all animals whether it be domestic or farm deserve to be well cared for. They deserve safety, shelter, good feed, clean water, bedding and of course, love. Most of all they need handlers that know what they are doing and if they don’t know something they will hurry up and figure it out! They don;t just let the poor things die.

    How the dogs, chickens, rabbits and other livestock must have suffered when they were left abandoned by the Naugler’s. That is so inhumane! They should have been reported for animal cruelty as well.

    Honestly, they are not cut out for homesteading, off-grid anything. They should give it up for the sake of the neglected animals and the neglected children.

    The sad thing is it did not have to be this way. If Joe & Nicole were minimally social, honest, hard working, decent and willing to learn they might have finally built up a good stable home for their kids. Instead, they are argumentative, criminal, nuisance neighbors not willing to learn a damn thing. How are they ever going to teach their kids anything when they can’t or won’t learn a darn thing?

    I would love to see pictures of their animals but most likely they will not appear since the animals are all but dead.

    Like all the places they lived before they will probably do a midnight move. I hope this time, when they take off, they have the decency to find the animals a home instead of abandoning them and leaving them as prey for the coyotes.

  7. I suspect the only reason they haven’t left yet is because they know it would be noticed and commented upon. There simply hasn’t been enough time for their notoriety to lessen. Maybe in a year or two they’ll have two running vehicles and be able to load up the children, dogs and bins. Maybe they’d take a cat or two, but I doubt it as they think of them as being self-sufficient (and coyote/fox food).

    I wouldn’t expect them to take any of the other animals along. I hope they would leave a note in their neighbor’s mailbox giving them possession of any remaining livestock. I’d feel particularly badly for any of the little goats if they left them roaming around, or worse, tethered for the local predators.

  8. You know what may work for some people raising chickens? A dog kennel.

    Southern States sells the Tarter brand dog kennel and if you add a roof of some sort (cattle panels if you put it up around a chicken coop, or solid panels if you transform it into a chicken coop) and either a cattle panel floor OR use horse stall mats, it should foil all but the most determined human predator. Plus you can lock the gate if you wish. I use a bicycle chain.

    Admittedly the Tarter kennel isn’t the cheapest around but they last a LONG time and if amortize the cost, it’s not that much annually by the time they need to be replaced. I have friends with a 20 year old kennel that is still in very good shape.

    Admin – I have NO idea why I kept rewriting “guinea” in my earlier post on a different thread when referring to guinea fowl. I will blame the chemotherapy/insomnia. Sorry about that. I still appreciate guinea fowl and wish I had a few around the place.

  9. Okay I have come across your hatred for these people but I don’t understand it. If go fund me exists, and you make an account, and people donate money, how is that in any way wrong? You have had go fund me accounts. Are you just bitter that it worked for them and not ewe? Why does your cow look so malnourished? Is there no grass in Southern pines? You say things about other ppl but never ever about yourself. So to me you r just a lonely crazy lady with no friends that can’t stand to see the family succeed where u have failed. Y’all really need to find a life fer yerselves. Seriously. You have 56 followers to their 45,000+ so maybe your message isn’t working. And maybe it’s because you are so negative. You know people hate negativity. Humans have a desire to seek happiness. I’m sorry your son died. That’s never easy. But I think you are so focused on others that maybe you missed raising him not to take drugs. I mean fer realz hun. You could be happy but your qwest to hurt others is belaying your own achievements.

  10. Okay I have come across your hatred for these people but I don’t understand it.

    I don’t “hate” the Nauglers. I think they are scamming grifters and I am just pointing that out.

    If go fund me exists, and you make an account, and people donate money, how is that in any way wrong?

    It’s not. But neither is it “wrong” for me to point out that people who donate are tossing their money in a non-existent outhouse.

    You have had go fund me accounts.

    No. I have not. Ever. I do not beg either online or off.

    Why does your cow look so malnourished? Is there no grass in Southern pines?

    She is a dairy cow. She is supposed to look skinny. That’s how healthy dairy cows look. Neither she nor I live in Southern Pines, but kudos for your snooping.

    You say things about other ppl but never ever about yourself.

    Actually, I do write about what I believe and think quite a bit, maybe more than some people want me to.

    So to me you r just a lonely crazy lady with no friends that can’t stand to see the family succeed where u have failed.

    And to me you are very likely one of the Naugler children or one of the Naugler’s lunatic supporters, who probably has failed at everything you’ve ever attempted. See? We all have opinions. If you really want to express yours, go pay for your own blog.

    You have 56 followers to their 45,000+ so maybe your message isn’t working.

    Not sure what this is supposed to mean, or where you get the figure “56.” But no matter. Look up “Argumentum ad populum” and read.

    And maybe it’s because you are so negative.

    And maybe it’s not.

    I’m sorry your son died.

    No, you aren’t. You come over here and make snide remarks about him, and then you go on my personal FB page and post nasty shit there. I deleted your comment there.

    But I think you are so focused on others that maybe you missed raising him not to take drugs.

    “Samantha,” dear, fuck you.

    Please show yourself out. The word you wanted was “quest.” Unschooling doesn’t work well, does it?

  11. Nicole first suggested the idea that somehow because you can see Frances the Cow’s ribs, that means she is undernourished. And it’s an idea that her followers, who are all so homesteady and into self-suffiency, have glommed onto without knowing a single thing about the subject. But then, that’s not surprising. I haven’t seen a single hint that any of them know a single thing about animal husbandry. A fat dairy cow is a very unhealthy cow.

    And speaking of Frances, it’s time for her dinner. She loves her dinner and gets peeved if it’s late, so I am off to feed her. She is currently dry (not being milked) as this is her two-month rest period before she calves in mid-June. That’s why we went on vacation when we did. It’s far easier to get somebody to care for your animals if they don’t have a milk a cow twice a day.

  12. Funny come here and try to bash complaining of bad behavior then add a horrible comment like that? Trying to stir the pot? Not enough drama for you or are you trying to deflect stress because the homestead is still trashed and the time is up?

  13. Times up. You can tell what she is stressed about. If she really cared about her children, she’d get rid of all the guns before the inspection. Then its not tempting to do something so stupid and reckless that there is no way to take it back. Joe is not stable. The kids may be getting the wrong idea from the screaming and ranting in the shed the last couple days.
    Rest assured Nikki, anything bad happens, it’s your fault for fostering it.

  14. Just a few observations.

    1. On the post titled Education you had a commenter named Gnome Earthchild. You believed this commenter to be Naomi Thompson. You instructed her not to comment again unless she was going to use her real name. She wrote in another comment that her legal name was Samantha Smith. It would be reasonable to assume that Samantha Smith is Naomi Thompson.

    2. Naomi Thompson recently commented on Nicole C Naugler’s Facebook page that she was being stalked by the owner of this blog. She stated that her mother had received a letter signed ‘A. Friend’ that bore a postmark from the city where the blog owner resided.

    3. Naomi Thompson/Samantha Smith/Gnome Earthchild commented above that she believed the owner of this blog to live in Southern pines, state not listed.

    4. It must be assumed, since Naomi/Samantha/Gnome has no idea where the blog owner lives (if it is not Southern pines as you have stated) that her mother did not actually receive a letter from the blog owner’s hometown, and instead she is trying to frame the blog owner and make herself a victim.

  15. Just a few observations.

    You got it, all four.

    Naomi Thompson wrote all that crap. Took me a few minutes to figure it out but my excuse is that I am sick. Southern Pines is in North Carolina. She got that from snooping about on my FB page or my son’s FB page or his website. We haven’t lived there in decades.

    The only use we have made of the US postal service (or any other, for that matter) since about the first of April is to have a friend drop off our absentee ballots for the Kentucky Democratic primary (she did so on April 11, when we were already in the Caribbean). The friend lives near Tampa, Florida and has nothing at all to do with any of this.

    Naomi is just an attention-seeker who wishes she, too, could be “famous” and grift people out of money.

  16. “Samantha Smith” these puppet names are getting less and less original. Go clean your shit up shitty mcshitterson.

  17. Samantha said, “You could be happy but your qwest to hurt others is belaying your own achievements.”

    Sally already pointed out the misspelled word “quest”. I would also add that “belaying” is not a word. Perhaps Naomi meant “belying”, which means to give a false idea. However, this word choice is nonsensical, as it does not make any sense in context to “You could be happy but…”

    Naomi, you might reconsider that decision to take your children out of public school.

  18. @Cynthia Bates – Actually “belaying” is a word and is regularly used in the rock and mountain climbing community. It’s a relatively new term that first turned up in the early 1900’s.

    Naomi still misused it.

  19. Samantha Smith, Gnome Earthchild and whatever other alias this person Naomi utilizes to sneak onto a blog that she discredits, is humorous. Why keep coming back to where you wore out your welcome?

    Don’t quit your day job as minister, poet, rabbit husbandry, witch, medicinal herbalist, homeschooler, crocheter. Your online detective work sucks. So does your stalking.

    Now back on topic, Chickenshit…

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