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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The pros and cons

        As you may be aware keeping a flock of backyard hens has gone from being homey to being oh, so stylish and vogue. Last month I stumbled upon a blog called Homestead revival and she had a picture of a chicken on her header. She plants a lot of the vegetables in her yard that she eats and I started thinking I wish I had more land, so I could have chickens.  Now, I may of lost some of you right there. Let's back up in an article in The NewYorker by Ralph Steadman he says In the 1950's ," it was common to keep a few chickens around. "They were cheap and easy to raise; unlike cows or sheep.Chickens are hardy and tolerant of most weather, can eat tables craps and they get rid of your insect problems. He also says," Chickens were a good investment. A hundred years ago, a chick cost about $15 cents. A hen in her prime, which lasts two or three years, could produce an egg every day or two in the laying season, and once she stopped laying could be cooked.

" So keeping that in mind.... I thought chickens seem to be the perfect convergence of the economic, and emotional matters of the moment.  I began to read about how to choose breeds, what a coop is, coop criteria and care and feeding. I read an old memoir book called The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. I became fascinated with how many people in the city had urban hens, and even Martha Stewart had chickens. Martha Stewart published her first book in 1982 and it featured her flock of rare-breed chickens and their pretty pastel-colored eggs. The more I read on about chickens I realized that some people become attached to them and use them as pets. I also learned that people and especially children are very disconnected to food, and I felt growing vegetables would help my son and myself be more connected and definitely having chickens would too.
  So what were to cons... Odor, Of course if properly managed a small flock of 2 or 3 would be odor-free. But the work has to be daily and pile pine shavings 2 to 3 inches inches in the coop.

  There health.... You can get salmonella from chickens, baby chicks and eggs. It usually does not happen with backyard flocks it's usually in commercially raised products. Washing your children or your own hands daily after handling the eggs, chickens or cleaning coops. Avian flue is a common concern- but this is extremely hard for people to get, even from each other. People who have been reported to have the Avian flue were people who lived with the chickens in there home  and breathe the same air...

Noise... If you are only getting hens... No noise really but roosters certainly are loud, and at the worst possible times Dawn. Hens do cackle from 12-30 seconds after they lay an egg.

Rodents: This one bothers me... Rats and mice can be drawn to chicken feed, which is way it should be stored in a rodent proof container. Shore up the coop and the run with wire mesh so rodents can't get in.

  Some of the fun panache looking flock types I found are:
Striking plumage on the golden polish hens.

  White Silkies are beautiful... 
  Moltled cochin are native to china and they are a beautiful bird to look at along with a Cuckoo Maran who developed in Moran, France produces a egg that is dark brown and looks like chocolate.
   Other hens produce a light blue egg.  My friend Janice has backyard hens and has helped inform me of many of the ins and outs of backyard chickens.  Janice had chickens with her father growing up, and she says her and her father had a "hobby" that helped bond them. Please go visit her at her new She was the one who told me to call my town and find out the local chicken laws and ordinances.  In all my excitement about learning about them and the pros and cons of them... I forgot to call .. So I finally did.. The women on the other end.. sounded annoyed that I wanted to have hens in my suburban neighborhood, she checked her book, and told me NO. I asked if there was a way to fight it and or petition it and she said, " No."  I have heard from other that you have to get permission from neighbors 80 feet of the coop.

  Whether you decide to come home to roost or just go visit a farm.. It was an interesting adventure that I hoped to have.. I will postpone it.. Maybe I will have a different ordinance in a different town, if we sell and move... If I have sparked an interest in you try... Henspa for coops1 800 783-6344 or go to the following or Here or this one and lastly...mypetchicken
 *****IF you already are a backyard chicken coop friend.. Drop me some pictures or leave us a link.. Tell us your pros and cons...


Marjorie said...

My grandmother had chickens when she was growing up. I don't think I would be able to do it though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Get some chickens anyways and tell your neighbors they are exotic rabbits. They might believe it!

Ellie said...

I thought about this, to the other day! Then I wondered how much work, how to cope/coop!

Nothing is ever, easy peasy these days! I would like to know what they are eating. I think all our food has soy in it. It is fine, if you aren't allergic to soy(like me).
I can have a small dose, but anymore, hives and anxiety from hell.

Mother Goose, let me know how you make out?!

Happy Birthday!!!!!!

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