my mum was perusing our local craigslist last night and came across this posting, which made us both laugh uproariously and i thought was worth sharing: http://burlington.craigslist.org/grd/824552027.html I believe I have the most dysfunctional flock of layers this side of the Mississippi. No amount of Blu-Kote will keep these hens from pecking themselves until they all moon me as soon as I walk in the door. When I picked these girls out of the catalog, this isn't the picture I saw. Don't get me wrong -- these are good layers. All large breeds. We (me and a friend -- my wife was away for the weekend and didn't have anything to do with this as she has told many people) imported these layers from one of those fancy Midwest hatcheries a year ago. I bought Silver-Laced Wyandottes, White Rocks, Partridge Rocks, Cuckoo Marans (mostly roosters that made good soup), Reds, Barred, Partridge, Araucana, Columbian, you name it. Healthy. Strong egg production. And no bugs (they'd be easy to see). I guess I wanted to create a veritable United Nations in my hen house, and maybe that's where I went wrong. Instead I built a struggling parliament for a fractured country. And some of the members possess only what could be called genocidal tendencies. So here's my plan: I'm disbanding the government. I need to send the members packing to the four corners of the country (or state). Put them on a plane (well, car) to whatever yard will harbor them, or at least keep their bare hindquarters warm for a few weeks until the feathers grow back in. Why? Because I know it will work. How do I know? Well, you see, a few weeks ago, when my wife was collecting eggs, a Partridge Rock escaped. Let's call her Fred (the chicken, not my wife). My 6-year-old daughter named her Fred (she named the dearly-departed Araucana rooster chick Princess). Fred is a very fast Partridge Rock, it turns out. Fred has (so far) escaped the clutches of the family of raccoons that kill every rooster that I've never been able to get rid of on Craig's List. (Have you ever noticed that Craig's List always includes free roosters? I swear there are more free roosters on Craig's List than there are prostitutes, err, women seeking men.) (Not that I'm admitting to looking at the personals part of this site, being happily married and all. I just heard about it from that friend who told me to order so many chickens.) (I digress.) So, besides escaping the fearsome raccoon's sharp claws of death, Fred has grown all of her tail feathers back. All of them, which is a very good thing considering how on occasion she now perches near the road and I only just received a conditional use permit to keep said dysfunctional hens. (It cost me a hundred bucks to get a zoning permit even though I own one of the oldest farms in my town. For this price I've been able to teach my kids what it means to add insult to injury.) So why don't I just set all the chickens loose? Well, if you're still reading up to this point, let me review a few parts of the story: 1. These chickens are good layers (most good layers are fetching $10 to $14 each right now, and I'm giving a dented-can discount). 2. Once these chickens are disbanded they should all behave better and regain their normal appearance (although I cannot guarantee this just as I can't guarantee that a Vice Presidential candidate's teenage daughter will learn something useful in her abstinence-only health class and won't turn up at a political convention several months pregnant). 3. These chickens aren't all as fast as Fred, and the raccoons won't pay me $7 each for them (I've tried). So, if you want a few laying hens -- or if you want a lot of laying hens and have all-suite accommodations to keep them apart from each other -- e-mail me. If you don't, it's OK. I have a fall back plan: I'll schedule a tribunal. When we dispatched the roosters my 8-year-old son looked at one of the birds on the block, picked up the hatchet and said, "I do like swinging things." I'll have him hitting home runs by the time we're through. Oh, and one last thing: Fred stays. She's earned her roost, if I can ever catch her.