Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Do I need to get a life? Don't answer that.


As I lay awake the other morning, trying to convince my feet to get out from under layers of warm blankets and onto a cold floor, I began to think about my chickens. Well, not just the chickens, but all of the birds -- ducks, guineas, geese and even my grumpy tom turkey.

I dislike winter (let me count the ways,) mainly because the birds have to spend so much time in lockdown  mode. It is for their own good.  Because, there is

  • warmth in numbers,
  • shelter
  • easy access to food and water
  • and protection from the many predators that also call our farm, home.

It also struck me, feeling a bit guilty because I have a dry, warm house to live in and they don't, how long I have had some of my feathered friends (or in the turkey's case, feathered fiend.)  And, more specifically, how much longer I might have them in the future, based on their expected life span.

Let's Google this, shall we?  (I love you, my sweet Interwebs...)

I found a good website, Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site, that lists a large number of animals and their respective life spans.  Here's what I found out about my birdy tribe's life expectancy and the (age of each of my oldest surviving birds) is in parentheses:

Chicken - 14 years (7)
Mallard Duck - 29 years (11)
Guinea - 10-15 years (7)
Turkey - 12 years (6)
Goose - 25 years (9)

Oh heck, this information is screaming "Bar Chart!"

Let's make one.

Charting Software

My point (which is good to have if you are going to plod through all of this geeky data,) is that the  uber-adorable, fuzzy, innocent, cute-as-hell baby birds you brought home in Spring, maybe even on a whim, are going to

  • grow up,
  • eat and drink mass quantities of food and water,
  • and cause you to go outside on the worst weather days imaginable,

for what could be for many, many years down the road.  Some of them, if you get the notion to begin keeping birds at a later stage in your life, could even out-live you.  So chew on that for a moment before you take the plunge.  

Or, on the other hand, you could butcher them and have the feast of a lifetime before entering your Golden Years. Which would definitely be something to look forward to -- before your kids drag you kicking and screaming to a nursing home, treat you to a long, well-deserved "vacation." 

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