Friday, June 19, 2009

Raising Chickens - Why Not?

By Tom McCarrick

It's nice to have your own chickens and it's not surprising that so many people are doing just that , in their own backyard.

Those chickens will keep you supplied with fresh eggs each day, and possibly even enough to sell on to local shops, or at the local market.

Eggs are definitely one of my favorite foods. They are so tasty, and there's so much you can do with them. Boiled, fried, poached - that's just off the top of my head. Not to mention all the ways they can be incorporated in baking cakes, quiches etc.

I live in the city and eat eggs regularly. Now the eggs that you get in supermarkets and grocery stores are OK, but have you tasted those down-home, free-range varieties?

I usually spend a weekend in the country with my mom, every five or six weeks. And she always seems to have a supply of "free free range" eggs at the ready. She gets them from a local farmer who calls to the door. Now these eggs are about as far from battery eggs as it's possible to get.

And the taste of those eggs - there's just no comparison with eggs from a shop. After tasting them, you wonder just how "free-range" those shop "free-range" eggs are (if at all).

I think its because I grew up on that same farm, and enjoyed those free free range eggs every day, that I got the taste for them. You are never happy with second best.

And you know, keeping a few chickens is no big deal " if you have a reasonably-sized back garden, you can build your own chicken coop and start your own egg-laying factory.

Of course, you can get chickens purely for producing eggs, but having chickens close by, it's difficult not to get attached to them. They have their own personalities of course.

I kid you not " I could watch chickens for ages " I find them fascinating. They put a smile on my face " between the noises they make and the movements they make with their heads.

Each one has their own particular traits - some are loud and and boisterous, while others are more laid-back, or timid. And when they lay an egg, they let you know, loud and clear!

There are many different greeds to choose from, and some beautiful colors like Blue Andalusians and Golden Campines, and various Leghorn (including white) varieties.

You can look on them as pets if you like, but in any case they will keep you supplied with eggs. I don't know of any other pet that will "give something back"!

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