Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For the Love of Poultry

I love chickens. I never intended for this love affair to develop, it was a by-product of my love of photography. One afternoon a few years ago I was on my way home, just before Easter, and I passed one of the local feed 'n seed stores. The sign by the road proclaimed "We have Chicks!" and my foot hit the brake.

I tell myself it was because I wanted to take photos of baby chicks, I enjoy stock photography and I had the idea that what could be cuter than a couple of baby chicks, how fun would that be to shoot? The truth is I love animals of all kinds. And my camera that day was an excuse to indulge in my desire to have a farm... to be Doctor Doolittle. To have just a little taste of what Noah might have felt like.

I didn't ask Brian what he'd think that day, I know he despairs whenever I bring home a new "pet". But he loves me, and he always accepts my adoptees. So, as my two initial baby chicks turned into over a dozen chicks and another ten or so ducks, he helped me on my trek and built me two very nice pens, and converted his well-loved shed into a hen house.

I have had my fair share of predators, everything from coyotes to owls and cats and dogs, but I have mostly figured out how to keep them safe and healthy, (as safe as any poor being can be when you are bottom of the food chain and anything bigger than you thinks you look yummy,) I lose a few now and then. Often to neighborhood dogs whom I rage against, all the while knowing it is really their owners I am angry at. Owners who don't care if their dogs run free in the streets to kill chickens or get run over by cars. Those days make me so sad.

Bu then there are days like my last few, where I go outside to check for eggs. (I don't eat my birdies, but we collect eggs) and find my hens their nests with newly hatched babies. Awww... cutes little fuzzies that chirp and peep and huddle close to mom. Gotta love 'em.

Sometimes I get asked why I keep these guys. Why I spend my money feeding chickens I don't eat, for the few eggs we collect. I don't have a great answer, watching them just makes me feel good. Watching them live and interact day to day. It's soothing, kind of like gardening. Makes me smile. :)

No comments: