Appalachia Gardening

Chicken Update

Raising chickens in western nc

It was back in October when I last updated you about our little chicken flock-if you missed that post you can click here to read it.

The gist of my last update-we had 3 hens: Gertrude, Polly, and Nesta; along with 2 roosters: Rex and Mr. Missy. By the end of that post I explained Mr. Missy was so mean he left the house one morning before daylight headed for Junaluska in the back of a truck.

Once Mr. Missy arrived in Junaluska he was free to roam around a little bit more than he was in his old abode, but it didn’t sweeten him up any. He continued to be mean to his new master as well. However, Mr. Missy met his maker when he tried his tricks on a Bobcat.

Gertrude and Polly

After Mr. Missy left we were very happy with our 3 hens-Gertrude, Polly, and Nesta; and one rooster-Rex. Until Rex started being abusive. He wasn’t mean to us nor to sisters Gertrude and Polly.


Rex singled out Nesta. The Deer Hunter said Nesta was just Rex’s favorite chick-and we were getting bent out of shape over nothing. But me and the girls put all 6 of our feet down and said “Rex has to leave!!!”

So Rex went to Junaluska one morning before daylight in the back of a truck just like Mr. Missy. So far Rex has fared better than Mr. Missy he’s still alive and rumor has it he’s the nicest rooster on Junaluska.

The Deer Hunter says “See we should have kept him so I could hear him crow.” Me and the girls put our 6 feet down and say “Good riddance to bad rubbish!”

Raising chickens for eggs

After Rex left, Nesta’s feathers started growing back in and the hens settled down into life without a rooster. Gertrude became the boss, of the chicken coop-but she is more like a grouchy older sister who loves you instead of a bossy unusually large rooster hopped up on testosterone.

The 3 hens produced plenty of eggs for us-all winter we got at least 2 eggs a day-and usually 3. Nesta lays brown eggs, while Polly and Gertrude lay lovely green eggs.

Broody hen


For the last few weeks we haven’t been getting as many eggs because Gertrude has become broody-which means she wants to hatch some eggs. One day we noticed Gertrude was staying in the coop an awful long time.

The Deer Hunter built the coop with doors which open on the backside-so we don’t have to go inside the chicken run to get the eggs every day. As we opened the door Gertrude got all bristly-fluffing her feathers up and making threatening noises. Day after day Gertrude set inside acting all huffy-most of the time the silly thing didn’t even have any eggs under her-Polly and Nesta were laying their eggs on the other side of the box. The hens’ eggs aren’t fertilized anyway-since we got rid of Rex-so sitting them wouldn’t do Gertrude any good in the long run.

The gentleman who gave us the chickens sent some fertilized eggs home with The Deer Hunter. Gertrude has been setting them for about a week. I’ll let you know if they hatch.


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  • Reply
    June 30, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Beth-too many dogs in our neighborhood to free range ours-and coyotes as well! But The Deer Hunter built them a fairly large run so they can move around. We’ve read about attaching tunnels to their coop-where you can let them roam around in a confined manner but haven’t gotten around to trying it yet : ) Enjoy your day!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    June 30, 2013 at 12:52 am

    When we had chickens for eggs, we didn’t let the rooster in the run with the hens for the reason that they just seem to always cause a ruckus. We made him roam around outside. He slept in a tree above the chicken run at night, and did fine. Now we have a hen and rooster that won the NC State Fair blue ribbon two years ago. They’re Egyptian Feyoumis which are rare, because they use to roam the banks of the Nile in Egypt and everyone there ate ’em up. We got these two to breed ’em. The do “the deed” but the hen won’t brood, so I don’t know what we’re gonna do about that long term. In the meantime, they’re more like pets. We call ’em Henry and Hennie, not very imaginative I know – but they’re names we can remember easily.
    I saw a T-Shirt once I wish I’d gotten. It said, “My pet makes me breakfast” and shows a rooster and hen on the front. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Beth in Ky
    June 29, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Are you able to free-range them? We do ours but have a lot of predator damage. We would not be able to free-range without the rooster. He is on constant alert for hawks and puts the girls in the barn if he sees anything flying over.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    June 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Man,, seems to me when those 6 feet hit the floor it’s Judgement Day,, ahhh also seems to me the Male population around there needs to learn from the others mistakes.. Watch them feet boys..

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    You know that little yellow flower in the bottom corner of the lot? Rex may have left that there for the hens as parting gesture. That old hen looks like she is saying to the other, “Well now, ain’t that sweet; I thought they got shed of your boyfriend.”

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    June 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    lol tipper … sounds like the hens got their way 🙂
    hope all the feathers grow back and things are sunshiney in your corner of the mountains.. would love to see some of those green eggs in person.. hope all are having a good day and lots of love and hugs to you all

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    There is nothing like fresh eggs, they taste so different from store bought…I’ll never go back. We’ve considered getting some chickens, but they require daily attention which would make traveling difficult…I can’t imagine driving with the dog, cat and chickens, LOL! I hope the eggs hatch, that would be awesome so see:)

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I was told that those green eggs
    are cholesterol free. (I don’t
    believe it either!)
    We had lots of free range chickens
    when I was growing up. We fed the
    chickens and our Beagle pups at the
    same time. But this one big ole
    rooster would always hurry and eat
    his area, then come and peck on the Beagle’s heads, have ’em
    bleeding sometimes. One day the
    pups grew up and one of ’em had
    got tired of being Jonah’ed by a
    blooming rooster. He snapped and
    brought blood and the rooster
    wished he had stayed with the
    chickens. The other beagles joined
    in, forgetting about their food,
    and the rooster became their

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    and Ed…is so right about puttin’ 6 feet down around old people…LOL
    How long has Rex been gone…I guess you know it takes a little time for those fertile eggs to run their course…I think it is about 10 days…
    We had two of the sweetest banty roosters….but they didn’t like Roy…they would sneak up behind him and flog him…he’d go to slinging that feed bucket at them instead of talkin’ sweet to them..Sort of like the Lord says turn the other beak…uhhh Cheek…He said beak, or cheek that rooster is going to loose a head if he keeps that up! lol
    Oh no, you are gonna have to sort out the roosters and the hens again! LOL
    We still have nesting hawks, peregrine falcons and owls that visit us…We are working on a cover for our chicken Run!
    Later, and Thanks Tipper for the update, I was wonderin’ about your chickens.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    This makes me think of my daughter’s chicken experience: she put duck eggs under an old setting hen and she hatched them. All went well, but when the baby ducks started swimming in their “kiddy” pool, the old hen was a little puzzled.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I am glad Gertrude got her hearts desire. I’ll be interested in the progress of the hatching and hope the little ones keep Gertrude happy.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    June 29, 2013 at 11:21 am

    So glad they outlawed selling dyed chicks at Easter. My last two met their demise early on. The dog attacked one and while taking the other for a walk in its cute box, it fell out on the sidewalk.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Ed-thank you for asking-I should have made it clear-since most folks in western NC are more familiar with the lake : ) I was talking about the creek between Andrews and Aquone : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 29, 2013 at 9:24 am

    The Junaluska you referred to, is it the lake near Waynesville or the creek over between Andrews and Aquone. Over in the area Eric Rudolph was supposed had hid out for so long.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 9:09 am

    My grandkids always get baby chicks for Easter and some wild animal always digs under their pen for a late night snack within a month or two. Someone just gave them fifteen grown chickens, but no rooster. I love to hear roosters crow even if it brings back lonesome memories. Mom was superstitious about the time of day a rooster crows. I have heard her order Dad to kill roosters that crowed in the evening.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Yet some more good memories! We raised chickens of all descriptions, and would often sneak a bought chick or an orphan under an old hen with good temperament. Now, there you go letting your girls get attached to another possibly mean rooster. When you watch them from “bitties” it sure is hard to let them go. Of course, I am probably counting your chickens before they hatch. lol. Great experience for young girls growing up.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

    You shouldn’t say “6 feet down” around old people!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Oh, no wonder she wants to stay put. There is nothing like a few little ones running around to keep a ‘mom’ doing her thing. Good luck! Isn’t Mother Nature amazing!

  • Reply
    Fred Tarr
    June 29, 2013 at 5:22 am

    yeah, mr. missy was fated to be around junaluska and double moreso as there are too many retired ministers at the lake there and all they ask every day, is “do you play?'(golf)n’ i can tell by Mr. Missy’s temperament he’d walk on by.

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