My First Year With Keeping Chickens: What I Learned


| 4/22/2013 2:26:00 PM


Tags: keeping chickens, Matt Kelly,

New ChcikensI’ve just come to the end of my first year with chickens and I’m feeling reflective. I’m also feeling bold enough to say I have some wisdom to share with the new would-be chicken wranglers out there.

I’m not going to get into skills or techniques or the myriad benefits to having chickens around the home. Look through any issue of Mother Earth News and you’ll get all the info you need, from pro-chickeners more wizened than me.

What I want to share are some bigger realizations that I came to over the course of this first year.  They strike me as being pretty important to a successful start with chickens.

Chickens Rock

Let’s get the cheerleading out of the way: Chickens are super cool. Can you dig it?

Most of us have only experienced birds from a distance. We experience them as flashes of motion and color. But then you own chickens and you're up close to everything that is "bird". You hold them, you smell them, you see them in complete detail. You can watch them for hours doing all of their bird things and are able to see patterns emerge. They are not like dogs or cats or people. The experience is new, it is different and it is truly fascinating.

And don’t get me started on how cool their eggs are. Just because you’ve been buying cartons of eggs in the grocery store your whole life doesn’t mean you have any idea what “an egg” really is. The biological building process an egg goes through from ovary to exit is astounding. And did you know that fresh eggs can stay fresh for around 8 weeks without refrigeration? Like I said: don’t get me started.


barbara
11/22/2014 2:50:27 PM

I laughed till I cried reading this article! Great writing, great advice - and I HAVE to ask about the foam insulation, which you mentioned twice in the article. Thanks!


mattkelly
4/28/2013 7:07:06 AM

Right on, neumayer.


mattkelly
4/28/2013 7:03:54 AM

Thanks, artbysheryl. Just curious: Ever thought about mobile chicken-keeping? Something like a chicken tractor you can take with you in the camper? Fresh eggs on-the-go...


neumayer
4/25/2013 3:26:57 PM

"Pay attention to what's around you.  Learn as much as you can, and then go do it.  Bad things will happen, handle it."

I don't know about chickens, but it sounds like good advice for living to me!


paul.braden.3
4/25/2013 12:32:29 AM

I have chickens in my future. 2 years away at most.


paul.braden.3
4/25/2013 12:32:04 AM

I have chickens in my future. 2 years away at most.


artbysheryl
4/24/2013 2:19:53 PM

Very nice post and encouraging to beginners! I had chickens for a few years and loved it! They are so much fun, so interesting and so easy! We sold the farm and moved into our camper permanently for our semi retired lifestyle so no longer have chickens, but I would get a few in a heartbeat if we ever settle into a static lifestyle again!

 

 




dairy goat

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.

LEARN MORE