I lost interest in our chickens about the time morning sickness set in. I've been more miserable with this pregnancy than any of the others. It didn't help that we all got some stomach virus right in the middle of it. But I'm just having a hard time with getting going each day and getting anything done. Smells bother me a lot. And chickens smell. Some people will try to tell you they don't, but they do. My nose knows.
We free range our chickens. We would lock them up at night, then release them mid-day. This allows them to forage for all the bugs and such that they want, while still allowing us to collect eggs. However, lately I hadn't been doing that. They were just putting themselves up at night and then getting up at dawn, or earlier, and coming up to the house to hang out in the coolness of our porch. I had several excuses. The heat was pretty harsh and this allowed them to find a cooler spot early in the day. And I hated all the spider webs I had to walk through each night to lock them up. But the reality is that I just didn't want to be around them anymore. The smell was too hard to deal with for me and I'm just a lazy slug with this nausea. Plus they had quit laying anyway with the heat. Well, we still were getting some eggs, but not a lot considering how many chickens we had. Overall though, I just didn't want to keep raising chickens.
We were also getting close to the point where it was time to start new chicks and butcher the ones we had for soup and such for the winter. I was dreading that. I have learned living here that I can do whatever I need to do no matter how gross it is. But that doesn't mean I like it. I know it's healthier meat and eggs, but it's also more expensive to raise them ourselves and more work. I've heard from some people that they save money. I don't know how. Maybe they have other feed options? Maybe God is just blessing them more in that area? Whatever it is, we were spending more and working more and I'm ready for a break.
So we gave our chickens away. We have a family renting our blue house--the one we lived in when we first moved here. As a benefit of renting from us, you get free chickens. Roger, Clark and our renter packed them up in a dog kennel, loaded the chicken tractor on the trailer and took them over there. It was so nice to not be woken at 5am by the crowing of the rooster. I didn't have to feel guilty when I didn't walk through spider webs to put them up last night. I didn't have to go collect eggs or feed the chickens when what I really wanted to do was take a nap. Just quiet. And no new chicken crap on our porch!! We always saved our table scraps for the chickens and they would sit on the counter attracting flies each day. No more. I threw away the nasty container we collected them in. I could have washed it and that was a bit wasteful, but it felt so good.
Chickens aren't really that bad to keep. They are easy and fun and a good healthy way to grow your own food. But I was ready to be done. We could have kept them and moved them to our new place probably. We had chickens in Grapevine. But I was ready to be done. I'd been thinking I wanted to quit raising chickens for a while, but it seemed sort of a have to thing living here. As soon as I heard Roger got the job, I decided to quit raising chickens. We'll see if I take it up again some day on a smaller scale. I don't know. But for now, I'm loving that they are gone.