Chickens! November 24, 2008
No, we don't have any chickens. Not yet.
Lala has been pushing for chickens for a while now. At first, I thought she was just plain crazy. We had chickens when I was a kid, and I remember them as nasty, smelly creatures. We were paid a penny a snail to pick them from the gardens and pitch them out of the bucket to the chickens. Have you ever tried to throw snails out of a bucket? They stick.
Unpleasant memories there.
So everytime she's brought up the idea of chickens, I've said either NO WAY IN HELL or if you get chickens, you're on your own, buddy.
Which is why I'm astonished to find that I want chickens.
Suddenly. Out of the blue. I would like three chickens. I would like eggs. I have no interest in eating a pet chicken, not because I couldn't (although that's a distinct possibility) but because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I couldn't kill one. It's hypocrisy, yes. But there it is. Novella Carpenter is able to kill her own poultry, and she's rad and is a fellow Oaklander. (If you haven't read her classic on urban turkey-killing in Salon, you must read it here.) But not for me. No.
But chickens! In a nice little hutch, with a nice-sized enclosed run, which could be moved around the yard to help with both fertilization and weed control? Totally free-range during the hours we're home to keep an on both them and the garden, free-range outside in their wire pen when we're not? Under the trees? Eggs?
And they're so pretty.
But money is an issue. Chickens are dirt cheap, maybe four bucks each. But the housing is where it gets you. We could build a chicken coop, yes. I've done some (okay, a LOT) of research already on them, and there are some great plans out there. But after the cost of lumber and tools (we really have no tools to speak of), it would cost the same as other options. The Eglu iMac house for chooks is DIVINE, but comes to more than $800 with shipping (ouch!). We ain't got that kind of scratch.
Any clever ideas? Anyone with a chicken coop they want to offload? Anyone with stories? Mmmm?