My first batch of four baby chicks arrived from My Pet Chicken on April 25, 2012. They were an assortment of different breeds - Mabel, a Salmon Faverolles; Pearl, an Australorp; Georgina, an Easter Egger; and Clementine, a Buff Brahma. I was bitten with Silkie fever a little after that, and added Tallulah and Eloise from a farm in a neighboring county. I recently lost my little Eloise to kidney failure, and so my flock currently is at five chickens. What they say about chicken math is true. You just want to add more and more and more because there are so many different beautiful breeds, and an equal number of breeds that lay incredibly gorgeous eggs from pale pink to blue to olive green.
I had wanted chickens for years for several different reasons.
First, I like chickens. I mean, I like animals in general... you don't end up with five dogs and a cat without harboring a pretty strong affinity for the animal kingdom. But chickens have always been appealing to me. They're super entertaining and comical, and I can sit and watch them for hours.
Second, in direct correlation to that whole "I like animals" concept I mentioned previously, I really don't like the way chickens (and other livestock) are treated in our current "food production" system. From the way animals are treated to the chemicals they're given that are then passed on to us, I'm just generally down on it. And while I don't eat chicken, I do use a lot of eggs. So it made sense for me to keep a backyard flock so that I would know exactly where my eggs were coming from and how those chickens were treated.
And yes, I feel the same way about dairy. And although some day I'd love to be in the position to be able to milk my own goats and/or cows, that's just not a possibility right now. My neighbors have been wonderful about the chickens, but I'm pretty sure that if Bessie the Cow mooed hello over the fence, they wouldn't be so generous.
And I also love that my family, friends and neighbors have a chance to interact with my girls. In today's world, most Americans have become very disconnected from where their food comes from. If I can help encourage just a few folks to start thinking about their food, its origins and how it reached the table, then I'll be happy. Man, that's a big load for those tiny chicken shoulders, right?