Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Meet "The Girls". This is Iris and Tulip, our backyard chickens. Eggs don't get any more local than when you walk out behind the garage for breakfast. Three years ago we decided to expand our garden to include eggs as well. The eggs are so beautiful (bright orange yolks that hold together) and so much more tasty, that I could never go back to the factory eggs. I have read lots of great factoids about health benefits of "free range" eggs as well. If I want Omega-3 eggs, I give them a scoop of flax seed or let them bug hunt a bit more.
Our girls spend much of their time in their coop and run, but when we can, we let them out so they can forage for bugs in our lawn and garden. They practically hyperventilate with excitement. Chickens make great pets that require no more care than a cat and are surprisingly entertaining with their own little personalities, and, of course, "pecking order". Their poop makes such a great additive to the compost pile that friends actually have a waiting list for taking the discards from the coop cleanout. The other day I actually saw chicken poop for sale at Stein Gardens.
If you are interested in backyard chickens, don't think you need to live on a farm. Many municipalities allow a small number of hens (although we did have to get a permit) and since they need such small space, they can be happy even in an urban setting. Roosters are usually not allowed for obvious reasons.
If you are interested in backyard chickens, there are lots of good websites and books. We found
the book "Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces" by Barbara Kilarski lots of fun (there was no turning back after I read this!). Also, the website www.backyardchickens.com is really helpful. Locally you can get feed and chicks at a variety of places. The Merton Feed Mill in downtown Merton and this is worth a trip just for the feeling like you are walking back in time.
Posted by Kristin at 4:53 PM