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Backyard Chickens

I have a secret confession: I have a fantasy about building a chicken coop in my backyard and raising some hens.

If you saw my postage-stamp-sized backyard in the dense, urban area where I live, you’d laugh, though it looks like my city does approve of private coops on a case-by-case basis, and raising urban chickens is becoming more popular.

I’ve been thinking about the chicken project ever since I read Jenna Woginrich’s Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life.

Jenna’s engaging tales of rediscovering the simple joys of self-sufficiency, sustainable living, and learning how to do everything from sewing to canning to bee-keeping in remote northern Idaho inspired me. She even has her own dogsled team that she hooks up to her very own sled for silent night glides in the moonlight.

Not that I haven’t been into this kind of homesteading stuff before. Yes, I’ve gardened and canned and knit, but the two things that really caught my fancy in this book were the chickens and the bees. With more than 30 children under 8 populating the surrounding houses on our block alone, the bees are simply out of the question, though there is something seductive about sedating the bees with smoke and then stripping the combs of honey… But I’m back to the chickens. Hens, I mean.

Can you imagine, having farm-fresh, wholesome, antibiotic-free, free-range eggs produced for your family just steps from the back door? We LOVE eggs, and there is a difference in eggs raised this way: they are usually richer in color, flavor, and texture.

Slaughtering in the city is not allowed, which is just fine for me. Just the eggs, that’s all I’d want.

Even though this is just a fantasy for me, others are already raising urban chickens, even in my city. No roosters allowed, of course – that would really kill your popularity with the neighbors!

Posted in: Living naturally, Books

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