Saturday, 10 March 2012

You Own What?

by Valerie Mann
For those of you who know me, I’m an author, editor, business owner, Mom, wife, quiltera generic goddess of all that's worth living for, as is any woman who manages to juggle 48 hours worth of work into 24 hours and still find time to breathe, sleep and have sex. Maybe not in that order. But sometimes all at once.

Sleep under this Star!
One thing that I am, but you may not be, is a City Slicker. I wasn’t raised in the city, but I have the citified mentality that says sidewalks are wonderful alternatives to hiking trails. I’ve done my share of tent camping, so if you want me to sleep under the stars, they’d better be Daniel Craig or Tom Hardy.  I love bug repellant the way others enjoy parfum. And cooking over an open fire? Oh, I do that, but I call the open fire a gas stove.

I have one exception to the City Slicker imageI own chickens. In the backyard of my city subdivision. The GirlsHoudini, Chicken Little (who ain’t so little) and Girlieare my lovelies.  And before you ask, the answer is no. We will not be eating the Girls. They’re hens, with the express purpose of providing eggs for the family, pissing off the cat and making us laugh.

Here is a short list of disadvantages of owning chickens:

1.   They make noise. Not as bad as roosters, there’s no cockadoodledoo-ing at 4:00 AM. But they can get loud. A well-timed snack (they like anything red) is usually enough to shut them up.
2.   They eat a lot. Never stop. Their goals in life are eat, have sex (which, sadly, the Girls aren’t getting) and laying eggs.  And they shit. A lot. OMG, do they.
3.   They’re dumb as stumps. Of course, my Girls are the Einsteins of the poultry world. But that’s still not saying much.

A Chicken Dirt Bath
Girlie does a face plant, Chicken Little kisses feather butt
 and Houdini risks her life in a hen sandwich. I told you they aren't very smart.

1.   They make me laugh. Their odd, chicken-y dumbness is so entertaining.
2.   Their eggs are phenomenal. It may sound cliché, but it’s true.
3.   They eat everything that moves. Bugs, mice, toads, anything blowing in the wind. And the resulting fertilizer is amazing. Because remember, they shit a lot.

Do I recommend owning chickens to everyone? Nah. They’re odd animals and don’t make the best pets. They don’t like to be held, forget about warm fuzzy pet bonding. And the first time you scratch their necks like a dog or cat, you’ll understand that chicken skin feels just as bad on a live bird as it looks under plastic wrap at your supermarket. Not to mention, they’re extremely self-gratuitous. They’ll be your BFF as long as you bribe them with treats. You’re just one big Pez dispenser as far as they’re concerned. But I love my Girls anyway. Our undemanding and symbiotic relationship suits me fine. 


Alexa said...

LOL! sounds like a very positive relationship, Valerie!

Kate Richards said...

I really want some! But it's going to have to wait a while. You make it sound so fun though. Remind me...why was it your husband said you shouldn't get another?

Anonymous said...

Chickens can be awesome pets! We had tons of them on the farm growing up, and some were actually really affectionate and liked to be cuddled and carried around. They'd follow you everywhere like puppies.

I want more SO bad, for the eggs and just cuz I was partly raised by chickens. But in my mid-20s out of the blue I developed an insane allergy to birds--asthma, throat swelling, etc :*( If I get a bigger place, I may just go for it anyway, and stock up on inhalers.

Faith said...

I really enjoyed this post, Val, and I relate to the chickens, lol. We raised them when I was a kid, but we had several. I got in more trouble over the chicks than you can imagine. They were soft colors like buttery cream, and then there'd be the bright yellow ones and the stark black ones. They were so soft and fuzzy, but oh the floggings the mama hens gave me for getting too close to their babies!

We've discussed getting a few chickens for this farm for fresh eggs, but we might end up with a coupla baby ducks for the farm. I don't want too many farm animals in the event the landlord gets a bug up his butt about it.

My aunt had a hen that was a pet. She came in and out of the house like a cat or dog. I don't know how my aunt did it, but Prissy would sit with her and let her stroke her feathers and she wouldn't poop in the house either. When Prissy died, my aunt cried like a baby.

Valerie Mann said...

There's a documentary you can stream for free on Amazon Prime about chickens. It was really entertaining and people view them in many different ways. Even the lady who swims with her chicken, bathes and blow dries his feathers and has a car seat for him in her car. Others just look at them as food. No matter what, they're fun birds!

Anonymous said...

Oh and I love your "Sleep under this star" photo ;;)I <3 how you worked it into a blog about chickens, and somehow did it successfully!

Jessica Subject said...

Love the idea of having chickens for eggs. DH and I discussed it when we lived in the country, but where we live now, there are by-laws preventing it.

Oh, and love how your muse made it onto the post, too. :)

Faith said...

Jessica, I'm sure Val will vouch for this, but there is a huge world of difference between a store-bought egg and a fresh egg. I can't stand to eat a store-bought egg.

Valerie Mann said...

In my county, there are two cities that don't allow chickens. Mine is one of them, but the mayor doesn't agree with it, so he tells animal control to look the other way, LOL And we bribe our neighbors with eggs so they don't tattle on us. Next thing I want is a goat. I'm thinking the neighbors won't be so easy to bribe though.

Anthology Authors said...

I don't know if we could. I think technically, as long as you name them, they are considered pets. However, the only place we could have them is in the side yard, which is right on the alley. And I don't know if it would be big enough for a coop. :( I'd love to have fresh eggs, though.

Valerie Mann said...

Our coop is an A-Frame, has two levels, the lower for when they're doing their daily hunt and peck routine. The upper floor is the roosting area. They lay their eggs on one end and sleep or roost on the other. The entire thing is only about 3 x 6 feet. And we move it around the yard, so they get fresh grass and critters to scratch for. We do let them out every day for quite awhile to get some exercise and a change of scenery. If your zoning laws allow it, just a couple of chickens might be fun for you!

Anthology Authors said...

I'll have to look and see, Valerie. Laws are pretty ridiculous here sometimes, but maybe I can.