Monday, January 9, 2012

About Chickens

O.K. I know everyone has heard about the resurging interest in keeping chickens, especially in urban areas. While it is very satisfying to have chickens and benefit from the delicious "farm fresh eggs" there are a few drawbacks that one should consider before getting into the chicken business. For me the first drawback is the smell that chickens always generate. During rainy times the smell seems to be more significant than when it is dry. If you keep their pen scrupulously clean the smell is not really a problem. However if you do not then you have to deal with the odor.

The second thing that bugs me about having chickens is that the egg is vastly made up of water above any thing else and consequently if you want really good eggs you have to supply them with fresh, clean water. Why would anyone keep chickens except for the eggs? You never see anyone walking a chicken on a leash, do you? Well; actually I did see a woman walking a chicken on a leash in Piedmont park several years ago but I have seen a lot of strange things in Piedmont Park that you would never expect to see anywhere else. I will say no more about that. The water you supply has to be available all day, every day. In winter months you may have to go to the coup and dump the ice out and refill the water container with fresh water often. Even when the temperature is minus 15 degrees and you have a head cold. Get up, get out of your sick bed and hike down to the chicken coup and give them fresh water, no matter what!

Finally concerning drawbacks, chickens can be noisy. It never bothers me but if you have persnickety neighbors this might be a serious problem. They cluck and chortle on and off most of the day. I love to hear them down in the garden talking to each other in exotic chickeneze. We do however live way out in the country and do not have people living so close by that might find all that noise bothersome. I personally say, "Screw them!" This might however not be the best position if you live in town or even in the country if you have large belligerent neighbors who have guns.

That is pretty much all of the complaints I have concerning chickens. Below are a few points I do like very much: Fresh eggs, fresh eggs, fresh eggs, fresh eggs, fresh eggs and finally, fresh eggs. The chickens I have are Plymouth Barred Rocks and are great layers hardy and easy to deal with as chickens go. Did I mention that their dropping make terrific fertilizer if you don't over do it and if you compost it first. My neighbor, Dave has chickens and when I am out of town he takes care of mine and when he is out of town I return the favor. You might not think this is important but it becomes quite a problem if you are going on an extended trip and have dogs, cats, fish and chickens to provide for. There is no such thing as chicken sttters (be careful how you say this) up here at Big Creek.

If you live in town you will likely not have to deal with any serious predation, probably dogs and cats will be the largest problem. Up here at Big Creek we have fox, opossums. raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, hawks and other predators that love to eat chickens. It is not really their fault because everyone knows that chickens taste very good, don't really fly very well and are fairly easy to catch, especially if you are extremely hungry.

Now that the topic has come up I will have to admit that we do not kill and eat our chickens. They are retired and freed to walk around the yard when they quit reliably laying eggs. The chickens become like pets to us and since we do not eat any of the dogs and cats we have; we do not eat the chickens either.

Most people do however because they really are delicious.


Blog Archive