by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.
Nowadays, I'm hard-pressed to find a chicken coop. We have no chickens. None of our neighbors keep chickens. There are chickens around and eggs for sale someplace nearby, I'm sure, but I couldn't give directions.
We've talked about raising chickens. Every spring, as the slugs rise to gnaw on the strawberries, my wife says, "We ought to have chickens." Free-ranging hens are an effective deterrent to slugs, grasshoppers and many other insect pests. They'll also keep down the weeds and add nutrients to your soil if you manage them carefully.
Every time I trim the fat off a fleshy store-bought chicken I'm preparing for the grill, I tell myself, "We ought to raise our own chickens."
Chickens convert feed to meat efficiently. Most broilers will gain a pound of weight for every two-and-a-half pounds of feed. If a bird is allowed to free-range, not only will it be less fatty, but nearly half of its feed will come from foraging grubs, weeds and worms.
Continued at... Flown The Coop
Out of the Past
Artwork: Chicken Coop at Eugene O'Neill House in Contra Costa County, California