Friday, October 02, 2009


I used to keep chickens all the time; they're a pleasure to have around, and fresh eggs bear little resemblance to the ones you buy in the store.

Hens you've raised yourself can be downright sociable, singing at your approach and running to meet you; they get rid of lots of table scraps you'd normally throw away, and really appreciate the novelty of something new in their diet. They'll pick watermelon rind clean.

Because of varmints, particularly opossums, my chickens always had to be confined in a pen, but after the experience of losing all but one of my flock to opossums, we moved the chickens closer to the house, and Cliff constructed a better pen.

I suppose it's been fifteen years since I last kept chickens; trouble is, I read Patsy's blog all the time, and she makes me realize how I miss them.

I don't want a big flock, just three or four; that number of hens would produce more eggs than Cliff and I use. Although I love to hear a rooster crow, I'd pass on keeping one, this time around, due to Cliff's sleep schedule. A rooster would just be eating unnecessary food anyway.

I'll add this for you city slickers: hens don't have to have a male around in order to lay eggs.

I want a "chicken tractor". That's a movable coop that serves as living quarters for the hens; two people can move it from place to place in the garden area. The chickens eat bugs and weed seeds and grass, and of course, deposit fertilizer. You can see pictures of various kinds of chicken tractors HERE.

Ideally, I'd buy some chicks next spring and they'd lay eggs all through the next winter. I've never had any hens lay eggs year-around after their first winter, although I've been told that if you keep a light on them all night, or feed them suet, they'll continue to lay eggs all the time, throughout their lives.

I'm a skeptic on that point, but I won't argue about it.

So, now all I have to do is convince Cliff we could use a couple of hens. Wish me luck on that.