Thursday, October 06, 2005

The new obsession

I want chickens. I've been saying that for the past three years and this spring I want them for real. We have a shed that is perfect for transforming into a chicken coop/potting shed, plenty of room, plenty of uses for their fertile droppings and their eggs. I wonder about dogs and chickens though. I think if the dogs realize the chickens are pets, they'll leave them alone, but not sure. And how far will a chicken wander? I work full time, so can I leave them out in the morning free and not come home to a squished chicken in the road? These things I need to figure out. I know what kinds I want though:

Buff Orpingtons


Silver-pencilled Wyandottes

They are so pretty. They will be used for eggs only though. Unless I'm standing there when the chicken keels over dead, I couldn't kill, cook and eat a chicken that I've raised, I don't think. Although, you never know. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Depression. I'm more than a little worried about the state of our economy and find myself constantly thinking of ways to save money and stockpile. It's becoming a bit of an obsession. I read a cookbook the other night that was my great grandmothers, printed about the time of the Great Depression, listing many ways to cut expenses and make things stretch. I want to become more self reliant, and know that if things really crash, husband and I will be alright. We don't have debt, so thats good, but there is this nagging feeling that I should know how to salt pork and strain my own lard. Strange, I know. I think we're better off than most people, but we're surrounded by Mennonite farmers, and I suspect that the world could end tomorrow and they wouldn't know the difference, because they are almost completely self-sufficient. I am envious.


Blogger EFB said...

I don't think i could kill and eat a chicken i raised either, but then again an organic, free range chicken from your own yard does sound tasty. the best chicken i ever ate was in central america where the chickens literally roam free around town and people just kill then and eat them.

maybe you could raise those exotic chickens that gourmet markets charge and arm and a leg for like poussin or cornish hens.

4:32 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Yeah, but when you get something as a tiny little fuzzball and watch it grow up, I don't think I could do it, no matter how much I made on a poussin or cornish hen. I wonder why the central american chicken tasted so good? I guess nobody now knows what a chicken is supposed to taste like, we've all become so accustomed to the franken-chickens churned out by Perdue, etc. We'll have to have a death watch and the minute a suspect chicken stops breathing it will be whisked inside for coq-au-vin. Isn't that the dish they make for tough old birds?

4:53 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I don't know what its like to eat an egg bird, but I do know that the broiler chicks we raised turned into the best tasting chicken I've ever had. If you were to get broilers (just say) they start out cute and fuzzy, but soon become these giant chicken monsters and are not cute. At all.

I would definitely give egg birds a try...those are both beautiful breeds. As far as letting them out all day when you're not home, I personally wouldn't. Is there a way you could make a penned yard for when you're not home, and let them out to free range evenings and weekends?

5:39 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I could fence in the garden and they could go out there during the day. And I was planning to put a small fenced area just outside the shed, so I guess that would work. How much exercise does a chicken need? Another question for Liz: I have a large farm behind me and they raise chickens (thousands). How much of a concern are diseases and other things coming from there and affecting my chickens? The chickens are housed approx. 1/4 mile away.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I don't know that chickens necessarily *need* exercise, but they probably do enjoy some amount of roaming and eating fresh grass & insects.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the commercial farm. Their chickens are housed indoors and probably so pumped up with chemicals they shouldn't have any diseases.

9:25 AM  

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