Last week J met a really interesting guy who sold him another rototiller. (More on that later. It was a very smart purchase, even if my garage does now look like a John Deere accessories dealership.) Somehow the conversation turned to chickens, a topic that gets kicked around my house occasionally. This guy had been doing a lot of research on chickens and told J a lot of what he’d learned. Apparently his family had decided on Dominique chickens because they are less agressive than other breeds, produce more eggs, etc. What really intrigued J, however, is the fact that chickens are known for their voracious consumption of bugs, and deer ticks in particular. I hate deer ticks. I may or may not have chronic Lyme disease, but I definitely have a deep hatred for deer ticks and their propensity to carry Lyme. I’m just not sure I hate the ticks enough to agree to get chickens.
I like the idea of chickens in theory, but the practical application of them could be a nightmare. One, we have two free-range cats that live next door (Max and Lily) who spend a lot of time in our yard. Two, you have to clean up after chickens, and I’m just not sure I want to get involved in that. Three, who will tend to the chickens if we’re away? Somehow I cannot see my mother doing this. And we have a house sitter that we love, but she has a somewhat unreliable schedule and often isn’t there every night. You are supposed to collect eggs twice a day, never mind make sure the chickens have food and water. Fourth, I don’t see myself being enthusiastic about going out to the coop to collect those eggs and manage the chickens twice a day in the dead of winter, or especially not when there’s a snowstorm, as there was every three days for about two months this winter. Finally, hens get old and must be dispatched. Would we really feel comfortable butchering and eating something that we had raised?
On Saturday my equally-agressive-gardener cousin J dropped by and announced she wanted to get chickens. I think our fresh egg problem has just been solved. I can drive two towns over and pick up eggs every few weeks, and she can deal with the twice-a-day egg collection, mess and neighborhood menaces. She can handle anything, she has three children.