Monday, January 15, 2007

Help Susie Get Her Chickens!!

My step-Mom, Sue, has wanted chickens for a while. She and my Mom live in a row house in a town on Cape Ann in Massachusetts. They have about 1/8 acre on a long, thin, narrow lot. The very back of it is very shady, and difficult to garden in. And Susie, with my encouragement, has determined that the best thing they could do with that portion of the yard is get a few chickens. She's checked zoning and the board of health, and it looks like a few hens will be fine.

The problem is, my Mom doesn't want her to have them. She thinks that chickens are too weird (my mother and step mother live in the only state in the Union where a lesbian couple with chickens is a lot weirder than being a lesbian couple with no chickens ;-), and that they don't belong there. I, of course, being the helpful daughter that I am, have been doing everything I possibly can to abet Susie on her poultry-quest. I got them Heifer fund chicks this year, and told my Mom that I got Sue some chicks. My Mom's response? "I hate you. I really hate you."

Still, Mom has softened up some, even though she doesn't like to admit it. She was recently heard to say the words "our chickens." Now according to her, she immediately regretted it, but still, that's progress. My sister Rachael just bought a house in a nearby town, and has been admiring the Polish hens from the Murray McMurray catalog (they are cool looking), and my youngest sister's husband wants some ducks (youngest sister is not to enthused). So there's considerable family peer pressure to get into the poultry game (me, I'm musing on whether to add turkeys and more geese...)

But I also thought that my Mom, who is currently recuperating from surgery, might also be moved by some testimonials, particularly from people who were a little ambivalent about the chickens in the first place, or who are raising their poultry in cities and suburbs, rather than out in the country like me. So if you have chickens, and you were either a reluctant poultry owner or a town or suburb dweller, leave a comment reassuring my Mom that chickens are cute, chickens are friendly, chickens are fun, and if you are already kind of weird, having chickens just adds to your luster ;-)



Green Fingers said...

Oh! Chickens are irresistable! My husband and I got chickens a few years ago and they are so fun. I'm not sure nature has created a more amusing animal. They have way more personality than you'd expect. Two years later, we still spend a fair amount of time laughing at our chickens. My coworkers even sometimes ask after the chickens, knowing there's probably an amusing chicken tale to be heard. We don't live in town but we do have neighbors who are quite close, and we've never had a complaint from anyone. But every visitor we have is interested in meeting the chickens, especially children.

Eileen said...

Oh, as we say 'round heah, I *wicked* want chickens....

I'm still traveling too much for work at this point (hoping to cut back soon). I'm delighted to hear that in a town near me people can keep chickens.

Part of the reason, actually, is that I'm having trouble getting eggs at the farmer's markets. I tried.

RAS said...

Oh chickens are awesome! They're too cute. I don't have any of my own yet, but I'm hoping to soon. And yes, when you're all ready a little weird, chickens just add luster. (And you can tell your mom another lesbian said it, lol.)

El said...

When I lived in Minneapolis, I drove down my alley and found a really scrawny young rooster. I toddled out and rescued him (I was 7 months pregnant) and put him in my garage, and then I called the pound. Seems there was no law about having chickens in the city!! You just needed to get the signatures of, like, 3/4 of your neighbors (not an easy task).

There are a ton of websites to tune your mom(s) into: just google "city chicken" for starters.

The key word here, though, is "chicken." Not "rooster." The only noise our girls make that's audible is early-a.m. egg-passing squawks. Otherwise, I know a lot more noisy dogs around, especially when we were still city-folks.

Oh, the rooster? He ended up getting adopted by someone living in the country.

RAS said...

Sharon, speaking of chickens, do you have any advice for someone thinking of getting them? (Who's never owned them before.)

Kristianna said...

We adore our chickens. Really! We love watching them grow from chicks to chickens. We have our lawn chair set up right outside the pen. We spent so much time out there last summer. We had some very difficult things going on in our lives and it was so soothing to sit out there and watch the chickens.

I know this sounds couky, but its true. There is so much more value in owning chickens than just fresh, organic, delicious eggs.

Our chickens helped us get through very difficult times. and that's the truth.


greenhillfarm said...

Its wicked fun having chickens :). I started out with six about nine years ago and now have more than thirty five. They are fairly easy to take care of and are way more petlike than one ould think (with some breeds being friendlier than others).
Beth on a farm oasis in suburban Massachusetts

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

We had salmon favorelles in our previous suburban back yard. I loved them. They are so friendly, mellow and soft spoken (of course we ordered only pullets--no roosters) We fenced them into a small spot in the back and occasionally let them out into the "bigger world". They weren't aggressive or flighty at all and fit in perfectly---the neighbors never knew we had them. Eggs are just a sideline bonus they were great to watch---better than a fish bow.. Make sure you get something really pretty and fancy if you are just getting them for "fun".
If you need to go out of town---chickens are really simple for a friend or neighbor to care for. Easier than a dog or cat I think.

Amy said...

My husband's cholesteral has dropped since we started getting home grown eggs. We eat eggs almost everyday.


Once you have a good coop built, chickens are easy pets. We live in Los Angeles with a small backyard and love our feathery ladies and their yummy eggs. Our cats like to watch them (we call it "Cat TV"). I put together a lens about backyard chickens that has a lot of info for beginners:

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