Have you ever heard that chickens are the gateway drug to farming?
At least, that’s how it was for me.
When my dreams of farming were first forming, it seemed like the natural way to start – A few chickens. You know, just enough to get a few eggs. Nothing crazy. Not like twenty-something chickens.
Oh, whoops. I guess that’s where we ended up, huh? Allow me to count the ways and elaborate exactly WHY we got to this point… (after the ad…)
- First things first – Chickens are easy. They require the basics: Food, water, shelter – and these can be as simple or extravagant as you choose them to be. We used a mobile shelter, which meets all of our needs – a mesh flooring so that droppings may fall out, shelter from the elements, and easy mobility for us to move it around the pasture.
- They are always thrilled to see you. There is not a whole lot better than watching them bolt across the pasture when they see you coming. Yes, yes, I know. It might be because I bring them food. But I also truly believe it is due to my sparkling personality. Whatever the reason is, they’re happy – and I’m flattered.
- When the big chickens run, they look like linebackers. Really! They do! One of these days, I’ll catch it on video for you. Pinky-promise.
- The taste of their eggs? Absolutely exquisite. Once you have fresh farm eggs, you really can’t go back to the store-bought variety. I have always been a yolk-person – but I honestly never knew that egg yolks could be like this! So big and bright – and flavorful!
- Pest control. When we moved to our current property, we noticed that we had a very stubborn fire ant issue out in our pasture and woods. After fencing the pasture and sticking the chickens out there, the fire ant mountains were demolished. Gone! Kaput! Thank God!
- They love my clabbered milk. I take a 35 minute drive every week or so to pick up fresh milk from the farmer that we purchased our cow from. That milk is precious to me, but occasionally we don’t consume it all before it starts tasting a tad bit “off”. However, if I leave it out on the counter for a couple of days and let it clabber, my chickens are feeling mighty spoiled – The sight of them chowing down on that stuff, flinging it all over and on themselves – Quite comical, I tell ya.
- The taste of pastured chicken is indescribable. Ok, I know this probably wasn’t something you were expecting on this list, but it kinda was bound to happen. If you recall, we once had an aggressive rooster that had to go – and when I say go, I mean “no longer live on this farm”. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have wanted to start raising meat chickens. The taste was like nothing I had had before. Nothing like the chicken I had purchased at the supermarket. It was moist, flavorful, dark – Mmmmmm….
- They are feisty. Have you ever happened upon a chicken that is sitting stubbornly on a pile of eggs? No? Not a welcoming sight if she is wanting to keep those eggs there. The noise that comes out of her is something akin to what a pterodactyl would sound like – But don’t get me wrong: this is a good thing. I respect that protective instinct. I got your back girl – Just give me those eggs! 🙂
- Kick-ass fertilizer. Do you know how absolutely amazing chicken fertilizer is? It’s easily one of the best there is! And did I mention it’s free?! Well, for me, at least! We move our mobile coop around the pasture during most of the year, in order to fertilize the entire pasture. During the colder months, we cover up the bottom of the coop to prevent drafts. Then at the end of winter, we have a nice stockpile of chicken droppings that has been composting down using the deep litter method.
- They are just darn good entertainment! I love that each and every one of our chickens have different personalities. I enjoy the fact that I can spend the day just gazing out my kitchen window, spying on their goofiness. They are friendly, sweet, spunky – AND I LOVE THEM DEARLY!
Truly couldn’t imagine a farm without them!
This post can also be seen at the Simple Lives Blog Hop!