Reader Contribution by Amanda Stoffels
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Raising chickens has been addicting. There should be a warning out there letting people know the risk of walking by baby chicks. It should be something like: “Warning! Chickens sold here. People may become extremely attached, hours will be spent watching them roam, and the need to buy them treats will arise. “

It all started for me when I went to the feed store to pick up some dog food. It was spring time, and they had baby chicks! I went home and began to convince my husband we needed chickens. By time I was able to convince him, build a coop, and head back to the feed store they were down to four pullets. I was SO excited! The obsession had begun.

I began to ask family and friends what to name them. Can you believe that people suggested names like Nugget, Fried Chicken, and Finger Licken’ Good!? Within a day we lost one to a hole in the fence. I was very upset and quickly made more repairs to make the coop just right. I asked if we could buy more as three just seemed like an odd number, but my husband insisted we stick with the originals until we get an egg at least. He has been my good sense through all of this. 

I found myself locking the dogs up every evening so that the chickens could forage in the backyard. The kids and I began to watch the chickens roam as the sun went down. Right as the sun set the chickens lined up and walked into the coop like Mother Nature had called for bedtime. The kids giggled and laugh at the silly chickens headed off to bed. We were hooked!

We waited, waited, and waited FOREVER for the first egg. It wasn’t until December that the first egg was laid. I remember running into the house like a little school kid holding the first egg. I took pictures, posted it on Facebook, and called my mom as fast as possible. We scrambled the egg and each took one bite of the world’s best egg EVER! Soon after we were getting one to two eggs a day. At this point I didn’t realize I was addicted to chickens, but the signs were all there.

Watching our three chickens in the back was wonderful. It was always fun to watch them but it just wasn’t quite right. As I watched them roam, I realized the problem. I needed more chickens! Now my husband wasn’t exactly in agreement with my conclusion, but I was convinced. So when he came home with the name of a guy who had a few Easter egg pullets, I was thrilled! I went over to his place to buy two, and I ended up with four! They were only a few weeks from laying, and so we quickly were having four to five eggs per day in the spring! Chickens were a part of the family, and they made me smile every time I laid eyes on them.

My addiction is very evident now. If asked about chickens, I can tell stories upon stories, tell you all kinds of facts about them, and enjoy hours on the back porch watching them. Since the first trip to the feed store, I have gone from enjoying the chirp of a chick to an obsession about types of chickens, different ways to feed and entertain my chickens. My children now have their own chickens, and I’m looking for ways to maximize my flock. I have begun to share my chicken adventures with my friends and so have gotten the nickname “Chicken Lady.” 

If someone had asked me five years ago if I would ever own chickens, I would have laughed. I never knew the risks of walking by baby chicks. So, let this be your warning, Chickens are addicting, but if you ask me, they are totally worth it. 

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