Should I get chickens?

People seem to be black or white about whether its worth keeping chickens in your backyard. Some say they bring snakes, rats, foxes etc. That chickens smell, aren’t worth the trouble.

My husband (late-blooming farmer) is keen. From a university party-animal that had never tasted an olive or a mango, he now grows his own veggies, makes his own moonshine, beer, wine (won a bronze medal the other day!), sausages and cheese.

Here are his before and now shots. (Yes, he was wearing a cushion cover. He said to say, no, it’s not a lobotomy scar).

Pel                  Winemaker

Our superannuation is such that, besides working part-time to a ripe old age (good for one’s mental health anyway), I will be referring to Jackie French’s Backyard Self-Sufficiency book in years to come.

backyard-self-sufficiency

Although I can’t see myself milking guinea pigs (I shouldn’t laugh, people got very inventive in the Great Depression), Jackie has some fantastic ideas. One of which is to keep chickens in your self-sufficient Garden of Eden.

Some years ago many local councils in Australia didn’t allow suburbanites to keep rainwater tanks. Funny how things change. 🙂 When still living in Sydney, my local council told me chickens would have to be kept 30 metres (98 feet) from any boundary with a neighbour. That is tricky on a suburban block.

We’re only thinking of starting with two or three chooks, no roosters. As I said, my husband is happy to do the practical research. But is it FUN keeping chickens? Are the eggs really tastier? Are chickens likeable, or do they carry on like hierarchical public servants? Should we get ex-battery girls?

Here are some interesting blogs about chickens I discovered.

http://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/my-city-chickens/

http://henkeeper.wordpress.com/

Any thoughts?

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22 Responses to Should I get chickens?

  1. Susan Forbes says:

    Definitely add chickens to your family. They will give you delicious eggs, wonderful poo for your hubby’s veggie garden and eat all those pesky insects that invade the veggie garden. I say “get cracking” 😉

  2. Funny girl!! The permaculture possibilities will blow husband’s mind! Thanks, did I ever tell you, you’re a ‘good egg’?

  3. Yes get chickens ! Enjoy fresh eggs

  4. Thanks Catalina, another vote for the positive! 🙂

  5. Lee-Anne says:

    Definitely get some hens, they’re wonderful additions to your family…there’s something addictive about keeping chooks – I think it’s the fact that they each have their own personalities and therefore are good pets, plus they each provide you with an egg a day and trust me, you can taste the difference 🙂 But watch predators, especially foxes in Spring. You need to either fox-proof your coop or lock them in a shed each night…speaking from experience, it’s harrowing to suffer a fox massacre. Go Michael, go permaculture!

    • This is the stuff I’m curious about, thanks. New members of the family, with personalities? Addictive, you mean, more than chocolate, and approved drinking nights – with neighbours/friends, pizza and movies?
      OK, will pass on fox warnings to late-blooming vintner/farmer. 🙂

  6. Maria M says:

    chickens are not for everybody but I agree that free range eggs and chickens are superior to factory eggs. However in this part of the world since they banned fox hunting the fields are alive with them, many people who have chickens have to lock them in at night and keep them in a compound during the day. But yes if I didn’t have a Bob (who dislikes moving chickens but loves them in his dinner) I too would be tempted. It will be interesting to follow and see how you get on. (thanks for visiting Bob’s page)

    • Bob is cute, I will admit he won me over. We have two dogs, an old corgi cross and a Jack Russell who is eager to please. Fingers crossed I can be a good dog whisperer. Dogs are honest and loyal, at least loved ones are (have heard scary stories of feral dogs). We’d have to lock our chooks in, husband saw a fox today. Thanks for visiting, Maria! Look forward to visiting you!

  7. I love my chickens they are so entertaining! Each has a little personality and the eggs are a real bonus. Yes get some!

    • Thanks, that’s two of you who say chickens have personalities. I know I sound ignorant but have never had the pleasure of knowing a chicken very well. Can feel vegetarianism creeping closer.

  8. HazMo's Mama says:

    Oh yes, get chickens! Put them on your birthday and Christmas list and get that Urban Farmer Husband of yours onto the project quick smart.

    We will be getting chickens in the next year or so (you know, when we have basics like fences and I have convinced my budding Urban Farmer Husband that chickens are the pets for us). I go through two dozen eggs a week. I get them from a friend around the corner who keeps 12 in her Canberra house and keeps another 20 or so at her weekend farm. They are honestly, the best and most delicious eggs ever eaten. I refuse to bake/make lemon curd/ice cream/scrambled eggs/quiche etc with any other eggs. My friend built own coop, has never had an urban fox massacre and says they are economical and eggcellent to keep. One of her hens just died at the ripe old age of 12…..and she was still laying ’til the day she died (the chicken, obviously, not my friend).

    Yes. You really must.

    xx

    • How convincing, after reading this I would be mad not to have chickens! Shall show this to Urban Farmer Husband. ‘My friend built own coop’ worries me a little as sturdiness can take priority over aesthetics if not supervised here. You even managed to crack a few jokes……:)

  9. Not a lobotomy scar? Chuckle. Looks like chickens it is! If you haven’t seen:

    myholistictable.wordpress.com

    I need to update the header shot. Maybe husband will find it of interest.

    • Just followed it, thanks, and will show him. If he eats tofu, though, he will have to have a DNA check that I haven’t got a changeling.
      BTW, you got me thinking about ‘angst’. ‘Unfurling’ is much more positive. 🙂

      • BAH…there’s that guilt again, for every new follower there. Tell hubby I won’t be able to build the site for a good while. The Table was my first dream…but then the Journey took off and stole my heart. There’s no way I can work on both while homeschooling and battling dishes that refuse to disappear. As to angst, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. There’s a reason it’s popular: the oomph.

      • Guilt? Ha ha. Oomph? I’ll have to think on that. If you mean ‘angst’ is like a social meme? You’re probably right. Still have dibs on having it before it was popular. I’ll tell him, and keep an eye on your site. 🙂

      • Just that ‘angst’ boasts the power of sound.

        Oh, you know what…? Don’t keep an eye on that blog LOL, at least not for new posts – for a while. But I AM glad it has served as a useful reference. The HOW to EAT page, esp.

  10. Definitely get some. Fantastic idea. You will get genuinely fresh eggs, and they taste better, and chickens are lots of fun. They all have their own personalities, too 🙂

    • Looking forward to getting to know their personalities. We had peach-face love birds which we let fly around inside, George and Lulu. George was humble and Lulu was a temperamental piece of work! I’m also looking forward to collecting eggs, perhaps some hard-wired gathering instinct? Thanks for visiting. Love your posts.

  11. Along A Path says:

    Backyard chickens have been the best decision we made, here at the Queendom. I highly recommend them but be prepared for a steep learning curve and some tough decisions. Read all the blogs and books that you can get your hands on. But before you do anything, you should read this post on NorthWest Edible Life. Erica makes it quite clear that chickens are not for everyone. Meanwhile – welcome to the Chicken Club!
    http://www.nwedible.com/2013/05/you-absolutely-should-not-get-backyard-chickens.html#comment-66562

    • Thanks. I read the post, and have taken things on board. Chickens are not for everyone, and will just start with a few, with the support of friends who have been down this path. Fingers crossed.:)PS Love your hot tub.

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