Monday, March 31, 2014
the dirty little secrets of an urban chicken farmer
OK, I'll admit it. I put the pretty side of urban farming out there for everyone to see. I neglect to tell you things like the poop. THERE'S A LOT OF POOP, PEOPLE. I don't mention that I have to clean out all that poop from the coop. Often. And I don't tell you that if I'm smart, I have to spray down my deck to keep the poop from cooking onto the wood. Often.
So today I'm here to be honest. I know you've seen my chicken posts and thought, "Oh how cute! Look how fun! It can't be THAT hard, can it? I SHOULD GET SOME CHICKENS!" I know this because you've told me so. I hear it all the time from friends and aquaintances. They, YOU, are thinking about getting chickens. What should you know?
Lesson #1, first and foremost! BE PREPARED FOR POOP. If you do not have a member of your family willing to deal with this issue on a regular basis, you're not ready for chickens.
Lesson #2, BUY A BOOK! Get yourself educated. Don't get the chickens and THEN buy the book. Do it now. It may save you from getting rid of those chickens down the line when you realize they have pooed all over your favorite brand new lawn chairs next to your beautiful pool in your well manicured and lovely backyard. Pinterest-worthy lawns with gorgeous pools do not mix with free range chickens. Just being honest, people. HEED MY WARNINGS.
And Lesson #3? Well, it's hard to say what should come next. Let me tell you what I found today. Maybe THIS is #3. It's that darn Flo. She's gone broody again. Thank the sweet Lord above she's not hopping the fence again, but she's definitely off her rocker.
This morning I opened all the windows. It's gorgeous weather in Oklahoma today and I was enjoying the birds chirping and the occasional chicken squawking. I felt the fresh air blowing in. Yes, it was a lovely morning with my pinterest and coffee.
Let me mention here that I am no chicken expert. But I am an expert on MY chickens. And when they squawk, I know there's an egg a'comin'. So I'll be honest, I was slightly taken aback when I heard Flo on the deck. Hmmmm. I've only been getting 2 eggs a day for the last 5 days, down from 4 eggs a day. Hmmmm.
As I got up and crossed the living room, I looked out onto the deck. There was an empty, broken egg shell. WHAT??!?!!?!?
This is bad, peeps. Really bad. You don't want your chickens eating their own eggs. (Lesson #3? Perhaps!)
When I went out and picked it up, I was squatted down. And I looked under the table to find Flo sitting on one of the chairs that was pushed under the table. Were those eggs I saw underneath her?
You bet your sweet biffy they were. And Oh. My. Gosh. There were FIVE. She's dying to hatch some chicks!!
I'm in big trouble. I need to go read my books again. Not sure how to proceed.
And the last lesson for today, especially those of you who are STILL thinking you are the exception to the pool/beautiful backyard rule: Lesson #4: CHICKENS ARE DESTRUCTIVE.
OK, not in a horribly significant way, but nonetheless. They dig holes all over your yard for their dust baths. (SEE A BOOK ON CHICKENS)
And they will eat your pretty plants.
And last, but not least, they will break/tear up your things.
Now, consider yourself fairly warned. If you can handle all of the above, race on out and get you some cheek-uns! You can do it! Anyone can! ;)
p.s. I love my girls.