Jul 22, 2015

First Came the Chicken

Here in Alabama, the local 4-H program offers selected elementary students to learn about poultry with a hands-on project called the Chick Chain. Already interested in obtaining three or four chickens, we decided this would be of great benefit to our family of four the more we read about it. One year later, we have more eggs than we can eat with plenty to share with neighbors and relatives.

Noticing the price of eggs these days, we definitely see a difference in our grocery bill. The small monthly investment to buy feed for our remaining 9 laying hens only pales in comparison to the price of a container of 18 eggs in the store. The feed isn't the chickens only source of nutrition since they love the random treats of grass, beetles, worms, scrap fruits or vegetables, berries and more.

If a local program is not offered in your area or if you are not eligible for one and decide to go on your own to the local auction or supply store to purchase your hens, the number of birds you need to purchase will depend on your demand for eggs and your family's ability to care for the hens. Though automatic feeders and watering cans can be easily made or purchased, gathering eggs, cleaning coops, checking roosts and monitoring the overall health of the chickens will take a little devotion each day from at least one caretaker.

And just to clarify the age old question..."Don't ya need a rooster to get eggs?" Nope! Not unless you want fertilized eggs. Let's face it, females of many species have produced eggs since the beginning of time without a male present. So unless you prefer having a rooster, and listening to that delightful Cock-a-Doodle-Doo all day, hens will do fine. (opinions vary on the subject)

Eggs are not only good for you in moderation, bakers and chefs value their presence. When you find yourself with eggs galore, you'll be thankful you invested a few pet chickens.

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