First you need to know that I raise chickens, and have for the past 30 years. I do not look like this, although I do have roses growing in the Shed Bed, next to the hen house.
Peggy Ornstein in The New York Times today talks about “femivorism” and the part chickens play.
I did not get my chickens because I thought it was part of good parenting practice. My five children were teenagers or older by the time we got chickens, and if anything thought they were gross. The grandchildren think it is exotic and fun to go out and collect the eggs, but then they are grandchildren.
I am fascinated by the mysterious trend to have a backyard flock, and I can only applaud it because I think chickens can raise your spirits. I raise chickens because they are domestic, cheerful, productive – just like me. I love using big fresh golden yolked eggs in my cooking, even if they come into the house with smudges of manure. Tip: NEVER wash an egg until you are ready to cook it. Nature has given the shell an impermeable coating that protects the eggs. Don’t wash it off until the last minute.
When people show photos of their backyard flocks they don’t show pictures of chicken house litter in use, moulting birds, or the inevitably work scarred equipment. It is not all picture perfect.
Though its not pretty, we gardeners love all that manure for the compost pile.
We usually raise meat birds as well. Even people with a few laying hens balk at that. But it raises the question, what does raising a back yard flock do for us? What does it mean? Eggs? Meat? A pretty hobby? Pets? An environmental effort? A lesson for the children?
What do you think?