Thursday, September 9, 2010

Roam Free

The other day while talking to my grandmother (who lives 1000 miles away from me), she said, "Were you affected by that egg recall??"  My response, "Ummm... Grandma... I don't buy my eggs from a grocery store."  I quickly reminded her that I get my eggs from my own backyard or locally from my Farmers' Market.

We've had our backyard chickens since the Spring of 2008.  Ok... maybe you're thinking that we live on a farm... nope... we actually live in a neighborhood and a nice one at that.

Deciding to get chickens was, admittedly,  NOT my idea.  In fact, I resisted the whole thought of having chickens in our backyard.  I had this horrible vision of what our backyard would look like with chickens.

It doesn't look bad... it's actually kind of cool ;)
 So.... the decision and convincing to get hens came from my husband.  Ever since our oldest son could talk, he wanted to be a farmer.  My husband thought that it would be a good idea to get some chickens and support my son's passion for farming.  I, of course, didn't really think that was a good enough reason (I mean what would we do if he wanted to drive Monster trucks??).   But somewhere along the way, my husband convinced me (yes, he threw out the environmental aspect) that it was a good idea.... 

Making the decision to get chickens has been one of the best things we have ever done.  I love knowing where my eggs come from.... and that it's not places like these:

"Free-Range"... isn't so FREE.

It's no wonder that a half a billion eggs have been recalled.  The conditions in which those poor birds live isn't natural... isn't even close to sanitary... and isn't even the slightest bit humane.  Our birds roam free** in our backyard... when our garden is in limbo they have free range to pick at all the plants left over from the growing season, the compost bin is one of their favorite places as well as the wooded area around our yard. 

Also, having chickens is one of those things that was part of what pushed me to stop eating meat.  My husband and I talk about how much we've learned from having chickens... they're so sweet, curious, mischievous, smart... have individual personalities... AND they've become part of our family...

We don't didn't have a rooster when "Big Momma" became once she sat on some eggs for a few weeks... we felt it was our responsibility to make sure she experienced motherhood.  Nope, those babies didn't hatch from her eggs... but she LOVED, taught and protected them.  It was one of the most amazing things to see.... EVER.

And... I just got caught up in how much we love our chickens that I almost forgot to mention that the eggs we get from our chickens are AMAZING!!!  The first time I cracked one open I was in awe of the color (ok... no lie... I still am).  Before we had backyard hens, I always bought organic (no ifs, ands, or buts)... but organic does not mean humane.  Eggs from truly happy chickens that have a varied diet are almost orange in color and have so much flavor.  I would NEVER buy eggs from a grocery store again... even if it was my only choice.

Thinking about getting some backyard chickens??  They're super easy to care for... check out this website for more information:  Backyard Chickens

Not ready for backyard chickens?  Start buying local eggs.  Search for farmers in your area at Local Harvest

**Our chickens have a pen area that is netted for their protection when we're not outside with them.  If you're interested in the "why"... you can read about that here.