Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why chickens?

"What are you going to do with them when they grow up?" was the disdainful, doubting question from two moms as my 4 year old and I walked to the school office with our 7 chirping chicks.  Their sideways glances at each other were a bit startling and they looked at me like I surely had no idea what I was getting into. "Well," I said gently, "That's sort of the point. When they are full-grown, they lay eggs."  "And you're going to eat them?!" Hmm. This was not a reaction I predicted...  I felt better when the next mom I encountered expressed enthusiasm and support "Oh, we took the class chicks home for two years in a row.  We LOVED them." But then wild dogs ate them and it was a tragic loss for the family.

So what are we getting into and why are we doing this? We joked that it might be easier than getting a dog. But we thought it might be a fabulous experience combining our love of nature and healthy food (well, generally healthy).  We garden, compost, drink organic milk, buy some organic food, recycle, you know, the usual steps towards a healthier more self-sufficient lifestyle.  We moved in December to a new house (actually ancient by Atlanta standards) with more property and for some reason thought, Let's get chickens. We need a new project.  Three kids aren't enough. Neither are 4 fish tanks and 3 cats. And a house that needs much restoration and renovation. Chickens.  My husband raised two chickens in high school and so considered himself an expert. Granted he had to give them away when one turned into a rooster and began crowing in the middle of Buckhead.  Why not take a leap into something simplifying the farm to table trend?

So, why not chickens? We researched chicken coops, how to tell male from female chicks, daily maintenance, fancy breeds, and visited some friends' coops. Then came the email from our son's kindergarten class: Homes needed for the chicks being hatched in class- the farm that donated the eggs doesn't want them back. So now we could have RESCUE chicks!  Well, not really rescue but certainly ones in need of a home.  Sold! Sign us up.