Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Joy of Chickens!

A guest post from my friend the Lazy Mom..........

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.

--Lazy Mom



our friend Ben said...

Ha!!! Classic post, and thanks, Jen, for allowing Lazy Mom to take over your blog for a day! I've always loved the way Eglus look but wondered if they'd really be big enough and warm (or cool) enough. Good to have a firsthand report. We think chickens are the most productive, delightful, low-maintenance pets-livestock ever! But I have to confess, my favorite part of this post was the chickens' names. Ha!!!! So listen up, everybody (and that includes you, Jen), and get some backyard chickens like Lazy Mom says!

Ronda Laveen said...

Stray animal negotions in our house go along the same lines.

"Honey, this (fill in the blank) needs a home. He/she fits in nicely doesn't he/she?" Soon enuf, he is their favorite two-legged. I love that about him. In time, he just accepts.

JGH said...

I've been working on my husband for the past couple of years, trying to get him to agree to chickens. A recent visit to the LazyMom's backyard finally convinced him - and I'm hoping it will happen this spring! We'll only get two to start...but I'm hoping to add. (don't tell the DH)

Lzyjo said...

hahah! I was really surprised that I didn't know you had chickens!!! LOL! I was trying to picture chickens IN Nyack! Of course, then I read guest post! Great material. I loved hearing about the chickens and Eglus!

tina said...

Too cute on those little houses. How nice of Jen to share her a blog a bit!

LazyMom said...

Oh, oh, oh...I wanted to put in the post a link to Heifer International...if you cannot get your own chicks...you can give a poor family in a flock of baby chicks...it is a great organization. Please donate and take a look at the cute animal pictures:

Joanne said...

I've been reading more and more about people starting to raise chickens. They're definitely gaining popularity, maybe due in part to those designer coops. Very charming, and quite a variation of the standard chicken coop. Thanks for sharing your story, Lazy Mom!

Talon said...

Love those coops - ultra chic! Chickens sound fun!

JGH said...

Lzyjo, is it hard to picture chickens in Nyack?! Wouldn't it be cute if they wandered around the village like they do in Key West?

Tina, the Eglus are cute, aren't they? I'm trying to decide between those and something called a chicken ark. They are about the same price, which doesn't make it any easier.

Joanne, I saw a blog post recently about someone who had fashioned a coop from Ikea furniture. I'm really surprised there aren't more pre-fab coops available.

LazyMom, thanks for the link to the Heifer org. I got their catalog, but haven't looked at it yet - didn't know chicken donations were an option!

Talon, LazyMom does make them seem fun, doesn't she? I wonder if I'll feel that way if it's 0 degrees outstide and I have to trudge thru the snow to feed them?

Proud Procrastinator said...

I live in Nyack (okay well close) and I have chickens too! There's a whole chicken network!

Gail said...

Loved this post...and the coops are perfect. I think Lazymom would have been a wonderful resource when I was a young mom! My kid is now 28! gail

PamHMG said...

Jen- I'm going to wait for you to try it out this Spring before I commit. I'm worried that I'll never be able to leave home. Who's going to take care of them?

JGH said...

Well, Pam, like Proud Procrastinator says, there's a chicken network! From what I understand, if you go away for a week, it would be enough for someone to stop by every couple of days to check on them, fill their food and water, and maybe let them out for a run. PP and Lazy Mom, do let us know if otherwise! Us aspiring chicken owners need to know....

Gail, I had no idea your son is 28! Definitely point all the moms you know in LazyMom's direction.

LazyMom said...

Actually--you really need to check on them every day. BUT I found that a lot of people are game to come by and water and feed them and get the benefit of a few fresh eggs to take home.
Plus...the chickens are SO CUTE. One of my friends would come by in the afternoon and let them out for walk around the backyard while she read the newspaper. She said it was very meditative.