“Well, I wasn’t planning on it, but…” seems to be the story of my life. I wasn’t planning on having a large family, or being a stay-at-home mom, or homeschooling, or becoming a farmer, or a vegan, or a buzillion other things that I am or do right now. But, over the years, I’ve learned to live by this biblical truism: “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 NLT
This past week, I unexpectedly inherited a flock of ten new mixed breed chicks from my cousin, a small farmer and an expert hatcher. I was not prepared for their arrival. I had no food, shelter, or bedding for them. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted them, now that we’re not eating very many eggs anymore.
We already have a flock of four Rhode Island Red hens that provide us with one or two eggs per day — not enough to keep up with our old eating habits, but sufficient enough to provide a quick snack for one of the kids when they’re craving an egg burrito, or to add into my baking mixes whenever I don’t want to take the time to make a “flax egg“.
Originally, “the plan” was to rotate out two hens every year — as the laying rate of the older hens declined, they’d be culled and replaced with new layers — so that we’d always have four laying hens.
But, now that we’ve adopted a more vegan lifestyle, we’ve decided to amend our plans a little…
The older flock now occupies the space where the goats used to live. The “new plan” is to plant a small orchard inside and let the hens live in symbiotic co-existence with the trees: tilling and fertilizing the land, while feeding on dropped fruit and other insects that the trees attract.
The new, little chicks are being kept separate from the older flock, right now. Eventually, when they get big enough, the plan is to let them occupy the larger pen, as well, to help with the tilling, fertilizing, and pest control.
We know that the new flock is probably going to have a few roosters, and we don’t quite have a plan for them yet. With our first flock of Rhode Island Reds (ones we hatched ourselves), we ended up with three roosters out of the seven chicks that hatched. At the time, we were not living in a place that allowed roosters, and so they ended up on our dinner table (in the form of brick hard fried chicken).
I can assuredly tell you that none of the new roosters are in any danger of ending up in the stewing pot this time! Most likely, we will keep one for breeding future flocks and for defense of the flock, and sell the others. As egg production increases, I will sell off the surplus, and as new chicks are hatched, I will sell those, too.
Well, now, that sounds like the makings of a pretty good plan, doesn’t it? Time to sit back and watch where the Lord directs my steps. It may not be exactly where I plan, but I love the life story He’s written for me so far!
Shall I add chicken farmer to the list of things I never planned on? 🙂