Rewind 5 years ago, I never dreamed of owning chickens — ever.
Since the start of my real food journey 3 years ago, I have grown an appreciation for raising animals to eat, along with the farmers who work extremely hard to raise their animals in the right way. With that appreciation came the longing to raise animals that would produce food to nourish my family. The idea of having farm fresh eggs that literally skipped the farm and were produced in my backyard was thrilling! I truly couldn’t wait to start a little flock of chickens and literally day-dreamed about them. I even started a Pinterest board called “Dreaming of all things chicken.” Yup.
Then, that glorious time came.
I had a bit of a whirlwind experience when I purchased my chicks and learned a lot of lessons in the first three days of owning them but that’s how life goes, right?
Of the many lessons I learned was that hens only lay eggs for about 2-3 years. That means Scott and I would face the decision to either keep them as pets for the next 7 or so years with no eggs or butcher them and make stewing hens out of them. It’s the harsh reality of owning chickens.
We thought long and hard and came up with the conclusion that we were going to butcher them at the end of their egg-laying span and give thanks multiple times during the process. Each year we would add another 4-6 girls to the flock so we would be in a constant rotation of eggs. We would not become attached and we would not do things like name them. You know, like real farmers do.
Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh, about that….
It’s all Scott’s fault. No really, he was the first one to start naming them. We have one New Hampshire Red (a brownish-orangeish color) and Scott named her Red. Then he named our flightly and dramatic Americauna, Chica. I told him to stop naming them because it would defeat our original plan.
Then, I received a text while I was visiting my sister in Buffalo a week ago.
Scott: I played with the chickens. So I have a theory
Me: What is that?
Scott: We keep this round forever. And all of the rest are just for a purpose.
Some farmers we are, huh? It’s hard to not get attached — they all have their own little personalities and are excited to see you when you walk into the run with fresh weeds that you just hand picked for them because no greenery grows in their run. They’re slightly spoiled.
You hand feed them, talk to them, pet them, hold them, watch them (more than I’d like to admit). Your husband even finds you super cute rain boots like these Wellies to wear while being out in the coop. You never imagined a pair of cute rain boots would be so versatile in the chicken run. Step in chicken poop? No problem. Spill water all over your feet? No problem. Walk through the dew-kissed grass early in the morning and not have to worry about your feet and long yoga pants (since you’re short and too lazy to go get them hemmed) getting wet and dirty. Absolutely no problem. Yup, I’m in rain boot heaven.
This whole no getting attached thing is definitely harder than we thought but I guess we just have to take it one step at a time. Although I have to say — since we’ve declared our flock as pets, I’ve found myself to let loose a little more and really allow myself to enjoy them. I’m basically becoming “a chicken lady” and I’m proud of it.
Want to learn more about raising chickens? Check out this guide to keeping backyard chickens.
This post is sponsored by Joules. However, the opinions and photos are of my own. Authenticity is important so I would never promote any brand or product that I wholeheartedly don’t believe in.