A few years ago my little boys and I decided to try raising chickens for eggs. We bought three baby chickens from a friend who had too many. We fenced off a small area in a shady corner of the neighbor’s yard where we gardened. In a few months we had more eggs than we could keep up with. We let them run around the garden area and they were so much fun to watch as they cleaned up the bugs that would have damaged our garden harvest and fertilized the soil.
We have been fed propaganda to make us believe that animals are “dirty” and “smelly” and “undesirable”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It may be true that if you cage an animal in too small of an area they may be trapped into stomping around in their own feces, but if an animal is allowed to roam free in enough space, their droppings go back to the earth in a short amount of time, making the land more fertile.
We found out that raising three chickens is equivalent to the cost and effort of raising a dog, but turned out to be a lot more profitable. Our three chickens each laid one egg a day, so at the end of each week we had 21 eggs. Most families buy a dozen eggs a week. We grew very attached to our chicken pets and would never consider using them for meat. The eggs were more than enough to make us very thankful for our little pets.
At that time we gardened in an elderly neighbor’s backyard because we didn’t have a yard of our own and because the neighbor had gone to live with her children. We kept up with her lawn, flowers and mature fruit trees in exchange for the use of her garden and green house.
When the elderly woman heard that we were raising chickens in the corner of her yard she wanted them removed from her property immediately. As a child she had lived on a farm with chickens and believed that Americans had “progressed” beyond the need for raising food in the backyard.
We were forced to move the chickens to our balcony because we had no land to put them on. To make sure that they had the bugs that they loved so much, we created a portable enclosure that could be moved around a friend’s backyard. I made a cube shape with PVC pipe and bought some bird netting to drape over it. It worked perfectly and was very light and portable. I brought them to a grassy area in a neighbor’s yard near our house where they could eat bugs and grass.
When they got muddy or dirty, we bathed them like we would a bathe a baby in the bath tub. They cooperated and let my little boy dry them off with a towel. We absolutely loved every minute of raising our little chicken pets. Raising chickens for eggs is just as easy as raising dogs or cats but with more benefits! When summer came and the balcony became blazing hot, we had to find a permanent home for them at a ranch outside of town. They were mysteriously missing when we visited them the following week. We’re pretty sure they ate our little friends. Some day we hope to own chickens again.
Our chickens were our pets.
We loved them as much as a dog!
Here they are in our bath tub.