Monday, April 19, 2010

Dah-ling, I Love You, But Give Me Park Avenue

My mother was telling me about a friend of ours. This friend, a lady of a certain age and comfortable position, decided that backyard chickens were just not enough. She bought a cow. A real cow. And she put that cow into the backyard of her suburban McMansion in our lovely neck of the woods. Pretty soon the cops came knocking at her door. Are you keeping a cow in your yard? You have to get rid of it.

I was in stitches, "So she no longer had a cow on her hands, she had two sides of beef?"

I live where I do because I don't want to live on a farm. Not even a little bit. I don't harbor romantic notions of tending livestock. I don't find peace in shooing a swarm of flies constantly at my door. I don't want to wear an apron stained with slop. I've almost no wish to till the earth, nor invest in a combine. I don't want a back 40.

And I do not want to keep chickens.


When my mom told me the cow story we laughed, and then we got down to brass hens. "I don't understand," mom said, "Are people actually keeping chickens?"
"Oh, yes," I replied, "It's a thing. Lots of people have backyard chickens."
"But chickens are disgusting!"
"I know."
"Do you remember the chickens in Spain? I never want to see another chicken."
"I remember! They were mean, and dirty, and used to peck me when I went to feed them; it hurt!"
"And people are keeping them here? And they like it?"
I nodded, leaning my elbows on the cow-leather ottoman and spilling out the names of some of our neighborhood poultry shelters. We shared a look of incomprehension. Honestly. Chickens!

Now, a farm-fresh egg? That's a horse of a different color.

Welcome to Things I Don't Get Week!

Today: Chickens.

I don't get them.

See the first TIDGW here.


2 + 2 = 4 said...

You are so my kinda more reason to keep me reading your blog.

My sister is one of "THOSE." Her new thing is bees. She has bees in her backyard to collect the honey. My husband, a lawyer, says it's a huge liability....

I even have pictures to prove it...

I don't get it either...

Me again said...

We live on an acre and have 19 chickens, 4 sheep and have had all sorts of different animals including meat cows.

I would like to assure you that there is no swarm of flies near my door.

We don't wear aprons or have a back 40. We have a very large square foot garden that has soil so loose that there is no rototiller needed.

Chickens are as dirty as you keep them. Ours are in a large coop that gets new straw a lot. The old straw goes into the compost bin.

When the kids are older, they will be responsible for the chickens and will have the opportunity to learn about genetics and hatching.

My point being that the "farm" experience can easily be tailored to what you want it to be. You don't have to have lots of flies and grime. It can be clean and neat. And we are zoned for it.

Dealing with a dogs poop would be more poop that I deal with now. Chickens and sheep poop in the pasture. A dog poops in my yard for me to step in. Which is why I don't have one. Gross!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and transplant tomato plants in the greenhouse.

Azúcar said...

Me Again, I'm with you, dogs? No, thanks.

I'm guessing a farm is as clean as you keep it. Even if it was the most sparkling farm in the world (and I've been on a few sparkling farms,) chickens are not for me.

I think it's great that my friends keep them, I'd fight for their right to do so, and I was happy when our backyard ordinance was passed. However, it leaves me completely mystified. They have chickens? On purpose? And they like it?

TheFeministBreeder said...

I actually have an old friend from high school who keeps backyard chickens. She goes on and on about how great it is to raise them and have fresh eggs. She made it sound so great I almost thought about doing it too - except, you know, I'm not crazy ;)

GrittyPretty said...

Mooooooo! I want a cow. Hahahahaha.

Azucar, please come see my chicks. And bring the boys. If the ladies misbehave we can practice giving them the stink eye.

Michelle said...

love chickens.

Wish I had room for a cow.

dalene said...

i LOVE my chickens! i got them for the eggs, but i had no idea how amusing they would be to keep. they are highly entertaining. who needs tv?

which reminds me, i've been meaning to drop by a carton of farm fresh eggs. this week, i promise.

next up, bees. only because i think i'd be stretching it a bit if i tried to sneak in a goat.


rookie cookie said...

The eggs are really quite delightful. I am slightly sad we don't live in Elk Ridge anymore. There was a chicken farm down the road and they sold a dozen for $2.50. They were the best eggs and I miss them. Apparently, my mom wants to keep chickens and I am going to have her give me eggs. But she can do the dirty work. I already have chickens. They are 5 and 2 years old and they are messy and it hurts when I try and feed them.

Azúcar said...

Michelle, I see the pictures of all your chickens and they look like they're clean, fat, happy, and nice. You don't fool me with your pro-chicken agenda! Surely they're mean and peck!

Laquina said...

Well over here it's chickens AND goats. Goats. And the composting...oh the composting. It's one thing to do it in your yard, but the kitchen countertop composting - disgusting.

Also, remember Ricky's G-ma had bees in their backyard and people were getting stung at his brothers wedding reception? Ha ha.

b. said...

Did I ever tell you about the first time I loaded and shot a gun with a purpose?
It involves a mean ol' rooster that was terrorizing my babies.
One shot. Right between the eyes.
Don't mess.

Azúcar said...

I've considered counter-top composting...but J would have a conniption.

Shep said...

i built a chicken run over the weekend and we're going to pick up our third pullet tonight. you're welcome to as many eggs as you'd like.

Azúcar said...

And also, if I turned my back for five seconds, all those composting worms would be decorating my living room couches.

La Yen said...

I would like chickens. But I know when I got them I would no longer want them. See: Dog, fish, Jooj, fetus...

Rynell said...

Just like b. -- my dad shot a rooster for knocking me down and pecking me. I have no chickens, but I like farm fresh eggs too.

Vern said...

But the chicken poop smells so good!

Amy said...

Yay! I love TIDGW.

Sarah said...

I am so confused. I didn't know keeping chickens was a thing. I am surprised at all these comments.
I thought the anesthesiologist I work with was crazy. Apparently he is trendy.

I am guessing the chickens in Spain are like the chickens in Hawaii - totally annoying and everywhere.
Caution people - if you don't watch out there will soon be more chickens then people on the streets!

Vanessa said...

Oh pshaw having chickens is awesome. Even if they are mean. Running to the backyard and grabbing eggs to use in our meals feels nice! Very worth it, if you have it set up the right way...and if you don't hate them.

amelia said...

I shouldn't be so surprised, seeing as every other week, a different Utah city is coming out with a new chicken coop ordinance, but still - backyard chickens? Really? Doesn't your yard smell like chicken poo?

I LOVE TIDGW WEEK. That's how I first discovered your blog.

the emily said...

My dad just published his life story, and yesterday I read one of the funniest stories EVER. He was 4, and it was his job to collect the eggs from the hens. There was this huge red rooster that was pretty mean, and it started chasing and pecking at him. My dad went running in the house terrified. My grandpa got out his rifle, helped my dad aim, and they shot him. And had fried chicken for dinner. Now that's my kinda chicken. And my kinda dad. What a cool grandpa.

noelle said...

have i told you the story about the people that had backyard chickens and roosters and decided they were too annoying and came over and let them go in our neighborhood? and how they would cock-a-doodle-doo at 5 am each morning and wake our entire neighborhood up? and how one morning while i was in the shower i saw my husband running across the bike trail behind our house in his underwear holding a shotgun and a few minutes later i heard a KABLAM!!!! and how he was a hero at church on that sunday? well remind me.

Anonymous said...

I don't want chickens, but my mother has them. Five hens in her backyard. I could literally live off of what naturally occurs in her suburban yard (eggs, vegetables), which is really cool, but not my style to have hens either. That said, her hens are actually really friendly and apparently will come when called.

I've actually seen llamas in front yards where I live but a cow is a new one!

Wendy McDonagh-Valentine said...

Hi there. I just found your blog thru cjane's. We've had an increase in chicken owners in our town recently. I don't know that it's something that I'd particularly be interested in pursuiting but it's nice to have friends who drop off eggs at your house once in a while. And the eggs are so much prettier than the ones you get in ShopRite!! : ) I look forward to reading your past posts. Thanks cjane!!

~ Wendy

Tyla said...

I, too, just found you through cjane's blog. I love it.

I live on roughly 150 acres in Tennessee but I HATE chickens.

This one time years ago I bought my niece a cute little Easter chick that evolved into the most evil rooster which she named Hank. One time Hank starts flogging this little bitty kitten and to defend the kitten I grabbed a brick that was nearby. I hurled the brick at that awful rooster with all my might. Sadly, I missed and killed the kitten instantly.

Later my husband had to kill the rooster because he kept flogging everyone who came to our house. My niece, upon learning of Hank's fate, would say - just about every time we had chicken for months afterwards - "Pooorr Hank."

Azúcar said...

The poor kitten, that awful Hank! Heehee..."Poooorrr Hank."

Chickens: they're great for eating!

Tyla said...

"Chickens: they're great for eating!"

Amen to that, Azucar!