We’ve all heard them and many have said them. But are they all true and what do they actually mean if you are on a farm? I can’t speak for every farmer, but I can give you some insight into the meanings at Mighty Oaks Farm.
“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”
Eggs are one of those things; when the hens are laying good, some times you are over run with them and you feel like there is a never ending supply. But in reality, that time period is brief if you are supplying friends and customers with fresh eggs. And there is nothing that will make a farm girl cry quicker than dropping and entire basket of eggs and having an entire days worth of work (for the hens) go down the drain. AND…if you have a large flock like we do, putting all of your eggs in one basket, will often crack the ones on the bottom. (Putting them in your coat pocket is not really a great idea either. Don’t ask how I know!)
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
So many things can happen to incubating eggs. It doesn’t matter if they are under a hen or in an incubator. They don’t always hatch. So don’t be counting on something until actually happens. You can eagerly await, you can be excited for, you can be hopeful of, but… know that farming is unpredictable and a learn as you go kind of thing.
“Running around like a chicken with their head cut off.”
My parents and Uncle butchered chickens this way when I was a child. It was one of those things; “I don’t want to look.” “But, I kind of want to look.” “That’s just freaky!” There are a lot of nerves still in action when a chickens head is chopped off with a hatchet. This process is old school and I suspect some people still do it this way. It does the job. (And I can assure you factory/industrial processing isn’t any more humane) But the way we butcher chickens is less dramatic, we think it’s more humane, less stressful on the chicken and it protects the end product from getting bruised and battered, giving a much nicer whole chicken in the end.
“Establishing a pecking order.”
There is a pecking order. Even as day old baby chicks, you can see the chicks jockeying for position within the flock. The more dominant ones will peck at the lesser dominant ones letting them know who is above who in the order. They even chest bump in a Sumo Wrestler style. (It’s pretty comical to watch two, 2 inch tall chicks chest bump each other!) This continues on into adult chicken life, where the dominant hens will peck at the others to get them to stop fighting, the get them away from the food source, to get them out of “their spot” and sometimes I think they do it just to remind the lower ranks who is in charge.
“Mad as a wet hen.”
Chickens don’t really care for the rain much. So if it is raining out, chances are good, they have found cover and will patiently wait until the rain stops to go venture out. But in all our years of raising hens, we have never had a hen be “mad” because she is wet. Or any other reason really.
Pigs do pile! If there is more than one, they sleep stacked right next to each other, right on top of each other, what ever way is the most comfortable at the moment. They are pretty deep sleepers and I am guessing this is a good thing for the poor pig that is on the bottom of the pile. Even when they are not asleep, they are not really big on “personal space”.
“Happier than a pig in &%@*.”
Pigs are actually very clean animals. Probably the most clean farm animal of all that we raise. If pigs are walking around or laying around in &%@* it is because they do not have enough room. Pigs will actually choose one area to use as their bathroom. I’m not sure if they all vote on it or how the “spot” is established, but they as a community pick the spot, and the spot is what they use. (As a cruel joke, sometimes they pick the spot that is most convenient for you to walk into their area. Apparently, they have a sense of humor too!) They do however use mud and will even make mud out of their water and soil to keep cool in the summer. That is not them being dirty…that is them being smart!
“Why pay for your milk if you can get it for free?”
I mean if the cow is giving it away, why would you go to the store and pay for it? But let’s be real; not much in life is free. Not even milk from a cow.
“Wait until the cows come home.”
I’m not really sure how to answer this one. I mean, if we want the cows to come to us, we just call them, talk to them, start scratching one and they all come running. We interact with our cows on a daily basis. It is the quickest way we know of to keep tabs on them. Do their eyes look good, their feet, their udders, their calves? Is anyone ribby, scratched, etc. So although this saying implies that cows take their time grazing, etc, we can get our cows to come to us pretty quick. It’s one of the benefits of a small family farm!
I know this isn’t all of them, but I hope this has cleared up the obvious issue of some farm sayings and their truth. (You’ve all been wondering right?!) 🙂
Leave a comment with some that I may have forgotten and we will try to address those too! Until then, stay healthy and be blessed! – Staci and Jesse