Thursday, January 6, 2011


For a year now, ever since it became legal to raise chickens in this neck of the woods, people have asked me if I was going to get me some. And for a year, I've said probably not. Amy asked me just a couple of weeks ago, and I raised my usual concerns: What do we do with the chickens when we go out of town, and how do we keep predators out of the yard? Our wooded suburban neighborhood has copperheads, our own fox family, and, oddly enough, coyotes. I'm sure there are a few raccoons galavanting around out there as well.

But I've been emailing with my neighbor Anthony, who's had a coop since last year, and he says he's only lost one chicken, to a hawk. I'm going to go visit his chickens this weekend if the weather's good, and then I'm going to think about chickens. A lot. Real hard.

I mentioned this to the Man tonight, and he did this thing he does when I bring up an idea he doesn't think is so hot, which is to smile and look interested while signaling total lack of enthusiasm with every friendly nod of his head.

So I did the thing I do when he does his thing, which is to sound oh-so nonchalant, like, "Well, I'm not even sure if this is something I want to do, and certainly not right at this very minute. In fact, I'm completely losing interest as we speak."

Then, despite his initial lack of enthusiasm, the Man will start thinking about chickens and get kind of excited. And in spite of my initial excitement, I'll start thinking about chickens and wonder if it's such a good idea.

Who knows where we'll end up. A new goldfish, maybe.

I have to say that I am excited about visiting Anthony's coop. It's good to know a neighbor who has chickens. You never know when he'll need to get rid of some extra eggs ...


Just a little more Travis. Here he is yesterday, his grubby old self:

And here he is after his grooming today, King of the Prom:

It's hard when your dog is prettier than you are.


wayside wanderer said...

It will be fun to see what you decide. We chicken sit for friends when they go out of town. That is as close to committment to chickens as I have made and I am like you...think, think, think. Copperheads? Yikes!

GretchenJoanna said...

We had chickens for 15 years, before moving to where we are now. Skunks were the predators we had to deal with, but at least they only came at night, so we shut the chicken house every night. I know some people put a chicken wire "roof" over their coop...wouldn't that be an easy way to keep out a lot of threats?

I loved having chickens, and would love to keep them again.

Pom Pom said...

Travis IS a cutie patootie!
One of my friends at school has chickens. She ordered them and they came in the mail! She picked fancy ones. One of the fu fu chickens she ordered lays different colored eggs! Like Easter eggs! She says they are very sweet and friendly. I think you should do it. Chicken poop probably doesn't smell that bad. Why not get a goat, too? Travis could play with the goat!

Danielle said...

DH has been reading with admiration the great John Seymour and is also fixing to get chickens at our house. DH announced this while company was visiting so I immediately ordered a NO CHICKEN DISCUSSION ruling. A few days later DH said chickens and dogs don't mix so as to give me a false sense of relief, but I know him all too well. I knew he was trying to throw me off. He never gives up that easily. Sure enuf, two days later he casually dropped that he can plan around this.

Here's my ace I've been holding. DH *really* wants two dogs. I don't like to be a dream killer, but he's going to have to choose. So another resolution: I need to do more dreaming and scheming a la DH. I never announce things like "we're going to get chickens." I wonder what schemes I can come up with, and if they'd make DH flinch.

Ali said...

I thought about chickens. Researched. Pondered and then learned that rats are massively attracted by chickens. There are a fair few hereabouts already. That was the nail in the would-be-chicken's coffin.

Susan said...

I think you owe it to philosophers everywhere to get chickens. Then it will be settled once and for all: chickens came before eggs.

Now, how are you going to solve the problem about the tree falling in the woods when no one is there to hear it?

magsmcc said...

Oh get the chickens! In a most untheological way I am surrounding you with animal guardians- all a bit too Dark Materials, methinks! But get the chickens- we visited some suburban chooks on New Year's Eve chez a friend, and they're doing muchly well! Mind you, Co. Antrim probably doesn't have quite the same range of predators!

debbie bailey said...

I love my chickens. I kept losing far too many a few years ago. Something large (bobcat?) would climb over the fence, nab a chicken, and carry it back over the fence. Since we've covered the chicken yard with wire, I haven't lost a one. Some of mine lay blue eggs. Some lay green. Some lay brown. They sure are pretty in a bowl on the kitchen table. I have a self-feeder and a washtub full of water in their house. I can stay gone for 3-4 days and not worry about them. They really aren't much trouble. You just feed them and gather the eggs. About once a year you clean out the manure and put it on the compost. Go for it!

Gumbo Lily said...

We've kept chickens for forever! There always seems to be someone here at the ranch while we are away to tend to them. We always lock them in the coop every night because of predators (we have fox, skunk, raccoon, mink, and badger) One year we had a badger dig under the the coop doing lots of damage to the girls.

I like chickens, they aren't hard to keep and the reward is fresh eggs every day (when they begin to lay). Your neighbor will encourage you, I know it!


Angela said...

get the chickens! I dream of owning chickens!
as the french say
an oeuf is as good as a feast!

GretchenJoanna said...

How do the French say that in French, Angela? I would like to keep that saying under my hat to pull out frequently, as I strongly agree!

The dB family said...

I need to let my husband read your post. I have been asking him to let me have chickens for years. No budging on his part. Oh well, at least we finally got a dog again :o). Travis is such a cutie!


victoria said...

You'd be endlessly amused by having chickens, that's for sure.
p.s. I'm so into your new modern quilt-in-progress.