This past Spring, our family, as a part of our new locavore lifestyle experiment, decided to give backyard chicken keeping a try. “City chickens” have become increasingly more common over the past few years, thanks to our death-spiral economy and the resurgence of the back-to-the-land sentiment amongst granolas and granola wannabes like myself. Therefore, between the library and the internet, we discovered a wealth of information available about how to build, populate and care for our very own coop full of chickens, right here in the city.
As most folks would before bring home a new pet, my husband and I researched every possible calamity and pitfall of owning chickens – irritated neighbors, funky smells, predator raids, exotic chicken diseases, etc. – and still decided to take the plunge into chicken ownership. We were excited! After scouring the internet for a suitably predator-proof coop plan, construction began in earnest.
By mid-May, the coop was done and my husband and I were being besieged daily by our daughters with, Can we get the chicks today? Pleeeeease!, until we finally gave in and headed out for the feed store to pick us some chickens.
Hooboy, the feed store. There are few places where I have felt like a bigger poseur/idiot than I do at the feed store. While the employees there are always very nice, I can sense their amusement and maybe just a smidge of irritation with me for all of my naïve questions and aimless wandering of their aisles. Luckily, my hubby grew up in the country in a small town called Yelm, and knows how to talk the talk of the country feed store – i.e. – the g’s start falling off words like hail from a storm cloud. What type a bailin’ wire you recommend? I call it his “Yelmese”.
Strange as it is to witness, his assimilation into country culture is most effective. Especially when contrasted with his stuttering, dingbat, city slicker wife asking what she had no idea were ridiculous questions.
Awkward questions and all, at the end of the day we were 6 chickens (and their copious accessories) richer, and $100 poorer. We were officially chicken owners.
To be continued…