The Husband often says: NO MORE ANIMALS! Usually whenever a stray cat, or a fox, or a herd of deer wander into our yard and the child and I turn to him with the “can we keep him?” eyes.
But the child and I thought why not a few chickens? Chickens are cute and fluffy AND they lay eggs—so what’s not to love? Plus…he was the one who wanted to live out here in the boondocks…might as well get some livestock.
My husband and I had numerous “discussions” about getting chickens. They started when I first saw the Eglu coop on-line at some design site and I decided that I HAD TO HAVE IT—which is odd since I am not really like that—except when it came to my husband and my vintage Saab…. I am actually rather Zen about acquiring people/animals/objects. So although the “negotiations” were still on-going like some UN Treaty that is thirty years in the making--I went ahead and ordered the Eglu Chicken Coop like some rouge country buying weapons of mass destruction from Germany.
The coop was just SO COOL and I knew The Husband would eventually come around because he is a designer and loves this cool stuff.
The Coop arrived and, I as anticipated, he LOVED the design.
Two weeks later, in one rather small box, Alice and Gertrude arrived. It was love at first sight. They were included with the complete backyard chicken coop. They were a little shy at first, but they warmed up. On the weekend I would go outside in the morning with my coffee and let the chickens out to wander around the yard—they would follow me through the garden. The cats did not know what to think, but after sizing them up—they decided to live and let live.
The chickens have proved to be an endless joy---visually they are like some prehistoric creatures foraging around our yard—scratching the dirt for a worm or hopping across the yard in a vain attempt at a butterfly meal. Emotionally—they are like curious cats who like to be close to you, but not too close. They love to beg for food when we eat outside and The Child has even taught them tricks.
And the eggs. There are few things more satisfying than going to the coop and picking up the two eggs EVERY morning. The girls are such good producers…all through their first winter they produced eggs and they are still wonderful layers.
We added two more birds to our mix(Frieda and Kahlo) and found another Eglu—purely by accident, on-line, that was used and cheap when my friend sent me this cool video about Susan Orleans andd her chicken obsession….we now have a little development of cool chicken coops. The two new birds are suppose to lay green eggs, but we will probably not see any until the Spring.
The care and feeding of the chickens is, of course, easy. I am not one for major chores. With the Eglu—you just slide the poop tray out the bottom and dump it in your compost pile. The feeders and waters you just refill daily and clean occasionally. I buy one of those squares of straw and big 50lb bag of food and we are good for 3-4 months for about $20. Of course, we feed them treats—leftover salad, pasta, oatmeal, couscous….
The whole coop is made out of that “Little Tykes” type plastic so you know it is going to last forever. To clean thoroughly —just spray the whole thing down with a hose. Simple.
It is my belief that everyone should have backyard chickens—they are good for the environment, your health and your soul. Don’t let a reluctant spouse stop you from getting chickens. Chickens are very addictive and once you bring them home, it will be love all around.