(All images on this post are courtesy of Sunset Magazine)
Ok I admit it. I want to own chickens. I don’t know how to explain it, but somehow the world of chickens opened up for me one day when I went to the chicken portion of the county fair and realized how beautiful and weird these birds really are. (More here.) Besides, fresh eggs are wonderful, and I really do eat a lot of them. We go through about 8 eggs a week. And oh my gosh, baby chicks are so cute it’s almost unreal.
So there are the reasons I want chickens. However, I am not getting chickens, because a. I don’t want to build a hen house and b. I am afraid that with all the gardening and beer making and such that goes on around here, getting chickens would be crossing the line from hobby gardener to full-fledged farmer. I don’t want to be a farmer.
But then Sunset magazine goes and writes an article like this and makes it seems so matter-of-fact and simple to own chickens that I would be crazy not to. It’s a pretty good article, in particular because it answers some common questions about owning chickens, like is it legal (yes in most cities, but only the hens and not the roosters) and how do you keep them safe (they need a small yard and a hen house.) (The space behind my garage would work perfectly, I can’t help noting).
But what really surprised me is how many eggs chicken lay. Most chickens lay about one egg a day for up to five years. They do not need a rooster to lay eggs.
(This led me to a whole digression into how chickens mate. Basic rundown–hens always lay eggs but they are duds without the rooster. When the hens and roosters mate, the resulting eggs can then be incubated and turned into chicks.)
Anyway, I’m still not going to get chickens. Really, I don’t want to be a farmer. Even a cute urban farmer with an egg basic. I will just have to keep my dreams of fresh eggs to myself.