Thursday, March 4, 2010

Backyard Chickens in the City

Sometimes the waiting just GOT-TO-ME. I felt as if I was spending so much time waiting. So - we decided to get CHICKENS for our backyard. Thankfully, we live in a city where backyard chickens are legal but just because they are legal doesn't mean your neighbours will approve. We certainly got some strange looks when we announced our plans - we weren't really asking for permission but we thought giving some of them the heads up was a wise thing to do.

Thankfully, our neighbors were delighted! On one side we have a young family who moved from the country to the city so mom could be closer to school - they thought it was a great idea - they have since become our main chicken-sitters if we need to go out of town overnight. Our neighbors on the other side are an older gentleman and his wife and he had chickens as a child - he was also fascinated with the girls. He says he especially likes the quiet sounds they make. We've given away some eggs when we had an over abundance - a great way to keep goodwill happening!

If ever you think to start this little project for yourself let me tell you - start up costs for us were CRAZY! That's mostly because we're CRAZY!! We built them the nicest coop on the planet! We started with our kids old playhouse and remodeled. We had help from a dear friend Mr. Lew. He came back numerous times to make modifications to our original plan. One of the doors opened up backwards and it was very awkward so that had to be changed, we added a roof to the outdoor area so they wouldn't get rained on or snowed on, we moved their nesting boxes, added roosting bars…I think our eggs cost us about a dollar a piece at this point and since we're moving we can start all over again when we get there!

I still find it completely amazing to go out in the morning and find a little pile of fresh eggs. I feel like a proud momma - wow - they did that "all-by-theirselves"! We decided on Red Sexlinks because that's the kind you could get from the hatchery ready-to-lay. It was the best thing for us but we didn't get to see them grow up from little chicks - maybe next time. They lay the most beautiful brown eggs of all different sizes. I thought chickens laid small eggs at the beginning of their egg laying life span and the eggs got bigger as they aged - NOT. They lay teeny tiny ones and monster sized ones the next day. For those of you who do not know - YOU DO NOT NEED A ROOSTER TO HAVE EGGS. Yes, that was a surprise to me as well. I had quite a conversation with a neighbor as they tried to convince me otherwise.

One day a little boy from down-the-street came over to visit and see the chickens. He stood with his hands on his hips and said: NO WAY YOU CAN FOOL ME. THOSE ARE ROOSTERS. I KNOW WHAT ROOSTERS LOOK LIKE AND THOSE ARE ROOSTERS. He could not be convinced! I told him he could call them whatever he wanted - they laid eggs!

Both of these examples have led me to agree with many others who say: WE HAVE LOST TOUCH WITH THE SOOURCE OF OUR FOOD. Food comes from a grocery store and that's where the thinking ends. No wonder the farmers in my rural area have signs that say: Farmers feed Cities.

I am looking forward to having the space to have even more chickens. It's just one step but it has opened up a whole new world to my family and besides the EGGS ARE DELICIOUS!

My long-awaited adventure of God-proportions continues...

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