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The Chicken and the Egg

February 28th, 2013

In Colombia, having chickens on your small farm is vital and the eggs they give aren’t the main reason for having them. They are kept for pest control, particularly because they eat brown recluse spiders and scorpions.
Colombian Chicken (1)
For a while, there were no chickens at the camp, then they started having trouble with spiders and scorpions. A flock of traditional jungle type birds were brought in and the scorpions and spiders were history.
Colombian Chickens (1)
These aren’t your typical laying hens that we are used to here in the states. The chickens roost in the trees, no cozy coop to keep them safe. There are a few branches propped up into the crooks of the pomarosa trees to aid them in getting up there. They do a great job staying away from predators since they’re not penned in. In fact, there was someone that tried to keep some chickens contained in a coop and run at the camp and they were quickly eaten by ocelots that snuck in out of the jungle.
Colombian Chickens
My dad has one larger chicken that was a gift from one of his workers. She’s a big girl, much larger than the smaller jungle type chickens, more of the type we’re used to seeing here. It’s funny, because everyone that visits has their eye on her for the soup pot.
Colombian Chicken 6
One day while we were there, she decided to use the wheelbarrow as a nesting box and left us a big beautiful blue egg. We found another one later in the week.
Colombian Chickens 2
Colombian Chickens 3
A few days before we arrived at the camp, one of the smaller chickens showed up with 5 chicks. She was down to three after only a day or two. It looks pretty promising for these three, since they continued to show up every afternoon that week. No doubt they will have the skills to survive.
Colombian Chickens 1
It was fascinating to watch these chickens, they retain their wild instincts and they’re completely different than the ones pecking around my garden. I suppose these traits aren’t desirable for large scale agriculture, but they certainly would be in the small garden setting. This spring I’m hoping to find some chickens that are a little more like these, I’ve found a guy locally that breeds them. You’ll hear all about them, I’m hoping it won’t be long.

Would you be willing to keep chickens with more of their natural instincts and get fewer eggs if you had chickens?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.