Los Fresnos News

Many Backyard Farmers Find Chickens a ‘Fowl’ Endeavor

ChickensInCageColorby Gene Hall

I have been amused by recent reports that folks who dabbled in self-sufficient chicken farming have overrun pet shelters with no longer wanted chickens. It’s really a serious thing, but it’s just so predictable!

It really sounds good on the surface. “Hey hon…let’s keep a few chickens in the backyard. We’ll have fresh eggs. The kids can play with them and it will be really cool.”

I hasten to say there are people who do this seriously, and I enjoy the pictures and accounts at Back Yard Chickens.   If you want to get serious about it, that’s your resource. However, some people let the romantic notions of their own yard eggs outweigh their good judgment. I’ll just let go of the fact that a free range chicken will eat absolutely ANYTHING. I like for mine to eat grain in a controlled setting, thank you very much.

About this time last year, I did a blog on my own youth and personal family experience in growing our own food. We were serious about it, growing about 80 percent of what we consumed. Yes, we had chickens. I look back on it with great fondness. Would I go back to it? I would most definitely not.

Do I respect those who do? Oh, yeah…in a way that you’d have to have done it to understand. It is VERY hard.  It is labor-intensive and that’s what eventually drove my family in a different direction.

These days, a family gets a few chickens and enjoys the eggs for a while. Then after a while, the chickens stop laying or feeding them becomes too much of a chore. The neighbors get over the novelty and start complaining about odors. Well, let’s eat them! You need to have plucked a chicken to understand how unpleasant a task that is. The result of all this?  Chickens at pet shelters!

Here’s the point. Growing your own food is difficult. U.S. farmers and ranchers are so good at it that most folks cannot grow their own much–if any–cheaper. They are doing it   efficiently, safely and sustainably.

If you want to grow your own, they and I would never stand in your way. However, if you want to go down to the grocery store, there is no need to feel guilty. Is this a great country or what?

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