Saturday, September 22, 2012

Raising chickens and needing math

Last weekend we had a conference on grandparenting. One of the speakers was from the local school district addressing the importance of education. One thing she said was to avoid saying you cannot do math as it will give your children an excuse to not even try. The reason I bring this up will be evident later in this story.

September in Texas has been as hot as the hottest part of the summer with many days either over 100 or close to it. Right at the beginning of the month, I got sick with allergies? Sinus infection? Dengue? I don't know but the combination of the heat and being sick made just getting through the work day difficult, much less what some evenings presented.

One such day, as I came in the front door, Annabel was running in from the back door notifying me that Stinky Pants was missing. Yes, we have a chicken named Stinky Pants. This was her other chicken and after Selena had committed suicide or whatever happened to her, I knew I could not risk Annabel losing her other chicken.

Barely taking time to set down my purse, I joined in the search, in the heat, with my dress clothes and shoes on. We started with a complete search of the backyard and at least did not find Stinky Pants dead, so I decide we need to expand the search.

Now if you are looking for a dog or cat, you normally call their name, right? Well, I'm not really sure that chickens know their names, as there is not a lot of calling them by name and responding. Truly the best way to get chickens to respond is by feeding them treats. So I head up and down calling, "Here Chick, chick, chick", "here chick, chick, chick", which did seem better than yelling "Stinky Pants!".

We tried to decide exactly how and where she escaped to determine where she might have gone. We had found her sitting on the fence between our house and my parents' house earlier in the week, so we checked out their yard, then the next neighbor's yard, who also has chickens, and I finally end up going down the alley, even though I promised as a child to never go into alleys after being caught riding my bike through them. I stopped at the end of the block and even kind of acted out what I was looking for to two women who did not speak English. I wondered if Stinky Pants was in their kitchen in a pot of boiling water.

As I finally headed back home worrying about how to tell Annabel, she runs to tell me that she has found Stinky Pants! He was in the underbrush right next door. Stinky Pants did get her wings clipped immediately! Teach her to try to fly away again!

Today was our first day to ever get 7 eggs in one day, which means one of our two youngest, Swanlea or Piper, also known as the Twins, the youngest of the group, laid their first egg today.

I kind of felt like I should have "the talk" with her since now she is a woman, but opted to do like a lot of mothers and just leave the literature for her to read.

Any way, with the recent increase in egg production we suddenly had more than we could possibly use. So we were to the original hope (intent?) of owning the chickens, actually selling the eggs. I posted on Facebook that I had eggs for sale and very quickly sold the first two dozen.

The Chinese government has invited back the adoptees to tour China, and they will pay for all in China expenses, you just have to cover the international airfare and the cost for the parents. OK, that "just" equals about $8000.

So this is where my math really stinks, whether I say that in front of my daughters or not, I am admitting it to you.

When the first two dozen sold, I actually starting thinking that selling eggs might pay for our trip.

Needless to say my math was not too good considering we have 8 chicks who, who on even the best weeks, probably produce 5 eggs each. That would be a total of 40 eggs a week. Subtracting out the ones that Annabel eats each morning, since she rarely eats one each day, not that I don't know how to subtract 7 from 40, so that leaves us with 35. That leaves us with 2.91 dozen per week.

So even if we round it up to 3 dozen eggs a week and there are 12 weeks before we would leave on this trip, I just need to make $222.22 per dozen to cover the cost of the trip.

I am pretty sure, even with them being free range, that proves to be a little too high for a dozen eggs. And even though I can't do math, I don't think that adds up!

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