Chickens in town…why not?!?

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Last weekend we brought “the girls” to town.  Up until now, they have lived at my father-in-law’s farm just a few miles away.  The “girls”, or 7 hens, are now happily at home in a coop in our backyard.  My 10 year old daughter is my guest blogger today…  She wrote this post while we were getting ready for them:

Chickens……..in town!  Why not?!

I can’t wait till’ we have chickens in town. My 2 younger siblings, my mom and dad, and I get to fix and pizazz the chicken coop. So excited!!  Anyway, we also get some advantages with the fully developed chickens. What, you say? Well, we get free eggs, something to hold, pet, and study for 4- H. I love to hold the chickens (as long as they don’t poop on me!) One of the big chickens at my grandpa’s farm lets you walk right up to it and pick it up and hold it. Tips for holding chickens – When you grab them, hold their wings down and put the head under your arm so you can see it on the other side. Put your hand under their backside, and remember to stroke the chicken’s back so it knows it is okay.  If you are new to this, you should go for one that is slightly big, and a female. Roosters (males) are a bit scary and aren’t as calm as females. Recently, my little 3 year old sister caught her first chicken! YAHOO!!  Last year I won grand champion at our county fair’s poultry show, and I’m looking forward to practicing with these “classy chicks”! I am very excited for my feathered friends to move into town.

Corralling hens for the big move…

Caught her!

The Chicken Wrangler 🙂

Almost there…

“Gossamer” – Cuckoo Marans hen

Checkin’ out their new digs…

Home Sweet Home!

A note from the Earth Muffin Mom:  This move was not without drama.  The hens…well…didn’t exactly like each other right off the bat.  We never gave this thought because they had all been together since they were a few days old.  The first day, we brought four hens to town.  It was painfully obvious by the end of the second day that the three bigger hens had ganged up on the fourth smaller white leghorn (Miss Toot).   We had a little lesson in chicken psychology – who would know that hens would be bullies in such a planned manner?  The three hung together in a pack, they would not let Miss Toot out of the hutch area, they wouldn’t let her eat or drink, and any time they got the chance they would peck at her head.  She would hang her head and dodge back into the hutch.  It was really sad to watch – frankly I felt like I was reliving high school in a weird sort of way!  We decided to bring in three more white leghorns just like Miss Toot.  At first, it was total Chicken Solidarity.  The four white leghorns seemed to stand up to the three big hens.  For the first day.  The next day we realized that those three big hens weren’t letting the four smaller hens out of the hutch, or letting them eat or drink.  They continued to peck at their heads and feathers.  Right about the time we were ready to take those three hens back to the farm…they all seemed to have some sort of epiphany and are now getting along beautifully.  Don’t know what exactly happened…perhaps they really did understand my threats about ending up in my stock pot???!!?

Our town has an ordinance against having farm animals in town.  We were quite happy to get a special use variance since our kids are in 4-H. The hens are considered “show animals” since they’ll all be making an appearance at the county fair.  Aside from 4-H, I have my reasons for wanting them here.  I can choose their care, and having them here, my kids can do chores and care for their own animals which is great.  I wish they were grass fed, but our yard is small and it isn’t allowed through the variance that we got anyhow.  But…I can feed them all of my kitchen scraps that would otherwise be compost and they are out in the fresh air getting sun (can you say…Vitamin D egg yolks???).  I love walking outside and picking fresh eggs…  Considering that we go through five to six dozen eggs a week…this is a no-brainer!!!

On a more serious note, I think that if people knew just where alot of those pristine white eggs from the grocery store came from, there would be way more people with backyard chickens.  I will not support a system that looks like this:

Chickens in this type of industrial farming conditions (known as battery cages – which according to Wikipedia accounts for about 60% of the worlds eggs) often have their beaks snipped without anesthesia.  The reason that this is done is because living under these conditions, the birds go insane and will peck each other to death, and cannibalize the other birds.  Now…I am not even remotely a vegetarian (although the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer did push me into a very brief vegetarian stint a few years back)…but I don’t believe that what I eat should live or die badly to end up on my plate.  I encourage you to do your own research on this subject, and not take my word for it.  I try my best to purchase humanely raised meat from local farmers that I know…and also to keep our own chickens for fresh eggs.  Seriously, who would want eggs from these poor things?????

Our girls have been a blast to have (although I could do without the flies)!   A couple are even tame enough already that they like to be petted.  We like watching them “expressing their chickenness” (to coin a phrase from my favorite farmer/author, Joel Salatin).  They make great pets, and I think that the chores are a good way for the kids to see outside their own needs.  It sure beats watching TV!

If this interests you, check it out!  If your city has some type of farm animal ordinance like ours…talk with your city officials to see how you can keep backyard chickens.  Maybe they would  be willing to change an existing ordinance if there is enough interest.  Even a couple of birds would reap big rewards for their owners!

This post was shared on the Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania; The Morris Tribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays; Better Mom Mondays Link Up;  Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Like a Mustard Seed’s Living Green Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; GNOWFLINS Simple Lives Thursday; The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; Real Food Freaks Freaky Friday; The 21st Century Housewife’s Gallery of Favorites; Too Many Jars in My Kitchen’s Fill Those Jars Friday. Premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites.

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About earthmuffinmom

I am a Christian mom and wife who is watching and waiting impatiently for the Lord's return in a world that is getting nuttier by the day. My main interests are in the areas of Biblical end times/eschatology and early Genesis/creation. To understand the end...you must understand the beginning! My other passion is health and healing! Our family has also been greatly blessed over the past several years with healing through natural health and diet (generally Paleo/grain free). I love sharing this information with other people, and helping folks in their healing journeys. That being said...I am not a doctor...so I'm not responsible for any decisions you may make in regards to your own health. Other stuff: I am married to a wonderful man who I have had the privilege of having three beautiful children with. We have been married for over sixteen years. I work full time, but have the blessing of working from my home, and I homeschool my oldest child. We enjoy homesteading...and while we live in a small, rural town...we have worked hard to develop our yard into a "little bit of country in town"...complete with our "farm dog," Buddy, and five chickens. Thanks for checking out my blog!

24 responses »

  1. Can you have a chicken Tractor? A box with a wire bottom sothe girls can eat grass and you can move it around the yard and garden. Free bug control. I do read these!

    • I’m glad you read these! 🙂 Thank you! Read Joel Salatin…”Folks This Ain’t Normal” and “Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal”…he talks about his eggmobile. 🙂 Some day I’ll have goats for the mowing lol…

  2. I just love this!!! Really. I wish we could have chickens where I live, we can’t even have a green house {so silly}. I do enjoy getting fresh eggs from our friends that live out in the country though. 🙂 Nothing beats a farm fresh egg in the morning.
    Thanks for sharing at LAMS’ Living Green Tuesdays!!!

    • You’re welcome, and thank you! It’s too bad you can’t have them, and a greenhouse. That is so silly (and next on my list 🙂 – I really want one! I wonder what our city ordinances are???). Good luck, and thanks for reading my blog!

    • I was out on my morning break saw this in the Lehman’s catalog – they have a fairly decently sized garden cover (looks like a mini hoop house) for $34.95. you can choose from plastic or fleece. 🙂 Think I’m going to have to get it – anyhow thought I’d share! 🙂

  3. Chickens don’t get a whole lot of nutrition from grass. They are omnivores, not herbivores. There’s no such thing as a grass-fed chicken. Free range, yes. Grass-fed, no.

    Also, I don’t recommend anyone allow small children without eye protection to catch chickens. Chickens have been known to put an eye out.

  4. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting chickens since our neighbors have some and I did too growing up. I’ve reserved Joel Salatin’s book at the library, any other books/advice for newbies? Thanks!

    • There are some good books on Amazon about backyard chickens, I have been thinking of doing a little research there and ordering at the library. There is also a blog that I like – Fresh Eggs Daily. 🙂 Facebook also has lots of chicken pages and communities. Good luck, it is alot of fun! 🙂

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this post. Your daughter wrote beautifully! I’m glad that the chickens are all now settled in. I’m so pleased you raised the issue of battery chickens – it’s so important to eat free range, organic or pastured eggs to stop this awful practice. Mind you, you can’t get much kinder, fresher or healthier than the eggs you will be eating! Thank you for sharing this post with us!!

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  10. I have thought about raising chickens. I live in a suburb, but I haven’t even looked into whether it’s allowed or not. Your post is inspirational. I appreciated your message, too, about not buying eggs of chickens that are raised in those terrible conditions. The things people will do for cheap food! I needed a reminder, though.

    • Thanks 🙂 We are really enjoying it. My husband has been trying to winterproof things for them, but as of right now when it gets cold we’ll have to move them back to my father in law’s farm. We’ll still get their eggs but I will miss them! Check with your city administrator – they will know if you can or not. If not, you can always check to see if there is some type of special use variance available, like we did. Good luck!

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