I once owned three chickens. They were a by-product of the only reason I studied biology: the project where each student receives a freshly hatched chicklet with the aim of ‘imprinting’ (basically making it think you’re its mother) it in the first week of its life by carrying it everywhere you go in a shoebox. When the week ended, you could choose to either keep your chick, or send it back to the Stegalls’ factory, where its projected lifespan was very short!
So I kept three: my own (Boris), and two adopted chicks (Drumstick & Chicky-Babe). Dad built a chicken pen and we waited eagerly for the colossal amount of eggs they would lay. The chickens were super sweet at first, but it didn’t take long for their genetic predilections to turn them into ugly, long-necked, cranky, incessantly-pooing creatures. Their rapid growth was kind of grotesque, I’m guessing because they’d been bred for meat, not eggs. They certainly weren’t dainty creatures and I’m afraid that I didn’t hold a lot of love for them. And when one died less than a year later, the other two followed shortly after – in the form of tough, bland casseroles.
And while I definitely see the merits of owning chickens for fresh eggs, when Thomas asked me recently if I wanted to keep chickens now that we have room in the new house, I said… absolutely not.
Because there is a much easier option.
Just down the road from where we live is a free range chicken farm. A simple shed at the back of the property, open 24/7, means you can buy as many eggs as you want, any time – and you know they’re fresh. In fact, from the shed you can see the happy, cheeky buggers flapping and squawking about in the big field next door.
The eggs have been removed from the nests, cleaned and are ready to buy. No creeping through slimy poo, pushing hens off their nests or digging under straw to find the eggs they’re hiding – just fresh eggs, which you pay for simply by leaving your money on a tray.
Scrambled eggs, anyone?