Owning A Chicken: Expectations Versus Reality

Jul 5 2015

Rodale’s Organic Life
by Doug Clinton

Source: Simon Grubb

Having the freshest eggs on the block can be harder than you think.

1. EXPECTATION: YOU WILL JOIN AN AWESOME COMMUNITY OF ECO-FRIENDLY TRENDSETTERS.

Reality: Your hip new lifestyle choice may be a nuisance to your neighbors. In many communities, neighbors have complained about the noise and smell. In some cases, the disputes have even gone to court.

2. EXPECTATION: YOU WILL HAVE ALL KINDS OF CUTE PETS TO CUDDLE.

Reality: Your have to be careful when you cuddle. You may associate Salmonella with undercooked meat, but it’s a danger in live poultry, too.  Be sure and wash your hands thoroughly after handling your new pets.

3. EXPECTATION: YOUR HOMEMADE CHICKEN COOP WILL BE A WONDER OF ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN.

Reality: Your priority will be keeping your coop clean, not getting it featured in Architectural Digest. Chickens use their coops for eating, sleeping, and yes, pooping. An unhygienic coop can lead to diseases, such as coccidiosis.

4. EXPECTATION: YOU’LL HAVE FRESH EGGS EVERY MORNING.

Reality: You’re tearing your hair out to figure out why they won’t lay. In the wild, chickens laid eggs in the spring and summer, but you can usually expect a domestic bird to lay about every 24 hours, but not always. Common reasons for them not laying are stress, incorrect feedings, and disease.

5. EXPECTATION: KEEPING CHICKENS SAFE IS EASY.

Reality: Chickens have more predators than you realize. In residential areas, domestic dogs can be a threat. Other predators include cats, raccoons, oppossums, rats, skunks, and birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, and owls.

6. EXPECTATION: YOUR HOBBY WILL RESULT IN LEARNING MANY INTERESTING THINGS.

Reality: You may be overwhelmed at first with all there is to know. Some great resources are Backyard Chickens.com and My Pet Chicken.com

7. EXPECTATION: FRIENDS WILL BE JEALOUS OF YOUR EXOTIC NEW PETS.

Reality: Your friends may laugh at how much work you’ve made for yourself. Make no mistake, it’s hard work. It can also be loud, smelly, and time consuming. Be sure you’re ready to make the commitment.

8. EXPECTATION: YOUR PERFECT BACKYARD WILL BE EVEN MORE STYLISH.

Reality: You can probably kiss that perfect backyard goodbye. Although chickens gobble up weeds and insects, they aren’t going to leave your garden vegetables alone out of respect. You’ll need to isolate your plants from your birds, and you might also want to start thinking about what to do with the manure—chickens produce up to 45 pounds a year!

9. EXPECTATION: YOU’LL EMBRACE NATURE AND BE IN TUNE WITH THE WORLD.

Reality: You’ll need to be tuned in to your chickens. It’s a good idea to put your birds in their coops at night for safety, which means getting up early to let them out again in the morning. Like any other pet, they’ll need food and water, but they’ll also need grit to help them digest their food.

10. EXPECTATION: YOU WILL START SELLING EGGS, BECOME A TYCOON, AND QUIT YOUR JOB.

Reality: You’ll have to keep your job. But the eggs are worth it.

The post Owning A Chicken: Expectations Versus Reality appeared first on Cornucopia Institute.

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