When I moved back to San Antonio 5 1/2 years ago I knew I wanted to give my kid a true TexMex experience. So after her first straight As report card I purposely took her to the neighborhood feed store where I knew there would be irresistible baby chicks. We came home with a hen and a rooster. We have since had chicks hatch, given away and taken in roosters. Yes, we get eggs. No, I can’t sell them. I get enough for my breakfast and sometimes for my family and rarely a few close friends.
We currently have three hens and one rooster. I’m hoping for a new batch of babies but none of my hens are interested in being new mothers. Yes, they have their own personalities. One is the spokesperson for the flock. Ms. Pecky is the first to greet me in the morning and run up to see what I’m up to. She will be the first to issue any and all complaints about lots of things such as feeding times, empty water bowls, to tell me about the bug she ate, and general garden gossip.
My first hen is Princess Patricia but I call her the mama. Her brother was Prince Pedro because he had a purple spot on his head. Mama is currently being bullied by the others. Chickens run on a hierarchy system and for some reason she’s at the bottom of the pecking order. I keep her separate for now and she will stay close by me for protection when I’m out in the garden.
Her daughter is Rebel. She’s an aloof teenager who won’t do what you tell her. When I try to round her up, she looks at me with this blank gaze and walks away. One time she wound up in the neighbor’s yard and I couldn’t get her back. I had to call in the expert, my mom. She came over, spread her arms out and caught the crazy kid. My mom tossed her over the fence and my neighbors had no idea they had been harboring a fugitive.
Now my latest rooster (they don’t last as long for reasons I won’t go in to now), I got from my Facebook chicken group. We met at Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels. I just call him my Roory-poo. My cousin named him Ignacio and my daughter pretty much rejected all the names I thew out from RuPac to Rooben and Rooberto. He’s a big sweetheart since he was coddled from birth. I pick him up and carry him around the yard and he starts to doze off resting his head o my arm. He has grown into a gorgeous beast. His comb is picture perfect and blood red. He definitely belongs on a black velvet painting.
Chickens are rather easy to care for. They just need to be protected from predators such as dogs, possums, raccoons, snakes and hawks. The eggs are wonderful to have if you can find them. You can have nesting boxes for them but if they free-roam like mine, they’ll find preferred spots to lay like under the rose bush, in the overgrown grass, in a cardboard box, on top of the utility table and any cool, dark place you can think of. It’s like having an Easter egg hunt all year round. They also love to dig up your plants and spread around the expensive mulch you just spent hours spreading. They do, however, eat pesky bugs, worms, small things that crawl and even larger creatures. They are carnivores and cannibals. Whoever came up with the idea of calling people ‘chickens’ for being fearful got it all wrong. These tiny dinosaurs are savage but we love them.