Friday, May 1, 2009

Food for thought.

Some people may think having chickens in the city is crazy. Or weird. Or eccentric. But I happen to think it's fun, amazing, smart, frugal, entertaining...and, OK fine, maybe a bit eccentric. Maybe. Maybe.

egg shells from beautiful eggs that my dear friend shared with me last weekend...ready for crushing and feeding to the girls!

As I was researching chickens I read many blogs...many informational sites...and gathered a lot of information. I went into this endeavor prepared and knowledgeable. By the time I got the girls I felt like I could really do this. And do it well. One of the things that amazed me the most was the whole cycle of life that goes with chickens. It goes with everything natural, really. And chickens play a part of it.
Chickens eat scraps. This surprised me. Some scraps are more desired than others. I'm finding that MY girls don't like celery. And aren't all that crazy about carrots. But they DO love some lettuce cores and apples. (No seeds please...they're toxic!) And don't get me started on watermelon rind. THAT is a HIT. And did you know that crushed egg shells are good for them too? Some say no...but most say yes. It provides them with calcium needed to make good, strong eggs. Don't you just love that? It's a whole cycle of life. And it amazes me.
Having your own chickens is so great. And if you think about it...which I have been, obviously, having chickens in your yard...or even a goat or two, for that matter, wasn't all that unheard of just a few years or so ago. Well, "a few" is relative...realistically more like 30 years ago? 40?
When I went to my neighbors to let them know I wanted to get chickens, and to give them an opportunity to veto my plan, one of them told me that she had chickens and goats and ducks in her yard in this very neighborhood as a child. She's probably around my age...40-ish or so.
So I wonder what happened? Where did things take a turn? When did it become against the rules to provide for ourselves? I imagine maybe some thought it was unsanitary? Which, yes, it can be if you are not a responsible animal owner. And I imagine some got carried away? And limits had to be set for those of us living within city limits?
It's a shame really...because people have become completely dependent on others for their food. And, because of this huge demand, animals are mistreated for our benefit. OK. So, wait a minute. Let me get this straight. It's unsanitary or unsafe or NOT OK for me to keep a few chickens in my backyard in a safe, comfortable, roomy, CLEAN coop eating delicious healthy scratch and delectable scraps. And it IS OK for them to be piled on top of each other, hundreds upon hundreds crammed into wire cages, deprived of natural sunlight and fresh air, pooping on each other and my FOOD...??!
That's OK?
I don't get it.
It doesn't make sense.
It's all backwards.
And all I can do, really, is my little part.
At least I know that my four sweet little chickens are having a good life. And in a few short months they are going to supply me and my family with rich, pure eggs. In return I will continue to feed them sweet treats like watermelon rind. And healthy supplements, such as crushed egg shells. And maybe...just eccentricity will rub off on others. Maybe.
I feel a challenge coming on...


WhiteStone said...

Wish my back yard was just a wee bit larger...I'd have chicks, too. And a dog! Just like yours! As it is I will have to be content with our small garden. And wish for fresh figs that are not to be found in Iowa.

pinkpeppercorns said...

I think it's become (or certainly becomING) in vogue to have chicks in the backyard. (For the record, I wanted chicks in my backyard before the chick movement. :) )

Anonymous said...

yes, pinkpeppercorn - I wanted them like so last year. It just took a year to convince my husband : )

Anonymous said...

we are working towards chickens. this year it is a garden and we had the surprise of a rescued rabbit just come our way, so one step at a time.

and though i didn't know that chickens ate scraps i just found out that rabbits will eat anything including your daughter's books and your visiting mother's shirt!

brian b. said...
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