For those of you that follow me on Facebook/Twitter, this is not going to be new news to you. Hell, if you know me really well, it may not have even surprised you. But I thought maybe it would be nice to explain (read: defend) how I came to have four live chickens living (read: constantly pooping) in my backyard.
If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you should know that I place a high importance on real food. And through my natural journey, I’ve slowly replaced pre-packaged food with homemade, conventional meat with local farm-raised stock, and factory eggs with pastured. This evolution has not only provided me with the satisfaction that I am providing the best nutrition to my family, but it’s also damn fun. Visiting the local market for seasonal produce and driving out to the farm to pick up bulk beef is my idea of a good time.
And as with many hobbies, homesteading has become a bit of an addiction. Going to the farmer’s market once a week is fun, but not as much fun as walking into your backyard to see a tiny watermelon growing. And what started with a small 4×8 vegetable plot with two crops four years ago has evolved into a seasonal garden nearly 3 times its original size, a bat house, a compost tumbler, and now… a chicken coop.
I honestly never would have thought about having my own chickens until I went on the Sustainable Backyard Tour this past June. Everyone talked about how EASY it was to have backyard chickens and I kinda fell in love with the idea of backyard fresh eggs. Although at that point, I still wanted someone else to have backyard chickens, so I could buy their backyard fresh eggs.
I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. They would be so good for the soil! They were great bug hunters! What an awesome learning experience for Allison! Finally after about a month of fantasizing, I bluntly asked Matt, “You won’t ever let me get chickens, will you?” His response? “No.”
Lord knows that’s one of the reasons I married that man. He grounds me and reigns in my crazy. So I put the idea to rest.
Then in August, two things happened to rekindle the chicken dreams. 1) My neighbor brought home information on a poultry rental service that provided all the supplies needed for backyard chickens at a very affordable price. 2) The year-round farmer’s market where I purchased my eggs announced that they would be closing their doors.
After learning that I would have to wait until Spring to get my rental chickens and I could potentially have no access to pastured eggs over the Winter, I grew inpatient (read: panicked) and hit Craigslist. Because you can find anything on Craigslist. There I found a woman who was selling her coop and four 6 month old hens for the bargain price of $100.
Allison and I went to see the chickens before committing, just to make sure I wasn’t getting some busted down coop and post-menopausal hens. The woman told me they were moving and couldn’t take the chickens with them. You could tell that she had a strong bond with her chicks and hated to see them go. The birds were quiet and well-mannered, much to Allison’s relief as she was afraid they were going to “eat her flip-flops.” And as we were getting ready to leave, Allison told me, “The chickens need to come to our yard.” That did it. SOLD.
So that’s the story. I bought chickens off Craigslist because my egg retailer went out of business. If that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.