I'm Just Chicken About Raising Chickens


Of Mice and Mountain MenSometimes I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who is not raising chickens. Everywhere I look are articles about raising chickens, plans for chicken coops, chicken tractors, chicken feeders, pictures of chickens, and people talking about how wonderful it is to have really fresh eggs.

Chicken Slacker

That last part is what comes closest to hooking me. I love eggs. We eat eggs for breakfast twice a week, and use them in cooking. We'd eat them more often if they weren't getting so expensive. I read that the commercial egg farms have been hit hard by avian diseases that required them to kill off significant amounts of their flocks. That kind of thing will drive the price up, and when this sort of thing happens, the prices generally do not come back down. It's like the delivery services adding fuel surcharges because fuel was so expensive, but when fuel costs came back down the surcharges stayed in place. We will just be eating fewer eggs in our house now. Unless I raise chickens.

I've given it some thought too. I could build a coop on the back side of the little barn that serves as storage for garden tools and lawn equipment. I could fence in the garden and let the chickens run free in there, while keeping the dogs and rabbits out. I could do that.

But … (here it comes) we live in a forest. A forest that is populated with raccoon, possum, bear, and snakes. Big black snakes, king snakes, copperheads, and (supposedly) rattlers (although I have yet to encounter a rattler on our property). The egg-eating snakes may not be such a problem now because the newest arrivals are a growing flock of red-tailed hawks. But if they tire of snake bouillabaisse and hasenpfeffer for dinner, they will surely turn to chicken dishes.

Then there are our dogs. We have two 90 pound permanent residents: an American Bulldog and a Yellow Lab/Pit Bull mix. Both love chicken — although I'm not sure what they'd do about a chicken dinner on the hoof, so to speak. But they like to chase the doves and wrens, I suspect they'd chase the chickens too. And probably catch them. We also play host to an ever-changing herd of foster dogs who come here for training and healing. Some are big mooshballs, but many have been running loose long enough to know what a live feast looks like.

1/7/2016 11:42:05 AM

You might have a point...a friend told me the most expensive eggs he ever had were from the chickens he raised!

1/6/2016 8:27:52 AM

I think chickens are like anything in life really, if you don't want to do it, don't! And good for you for recognizing it. I have chickens and LOVE doing it, but it is a lot of work. It doesn't feel like work to me, but it certainly would to you. My husband and I joke that the eggs we do get are the most expensive eggs ever. It's really not as much about the eggs as it is about the chickens. I could buy fresh eggs.

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