In addition to the cats, hamsters, crabs and fish, we now have 4 pet chickens living in our backyard. Yes, you read that correctly – chickens — as in Polly, Amber, Sapphire, and ChouChou. It wasn’t exactly my idea, but here’s how it went down. Last year, my husband Jon built a pretty blue chicken chalet (O.K., coop) and bought a few chickens with his friend Laurent. Laurent and his kids took care of the chickens, and, once a month, gave us a dozen delicious, fresh eggs. Not a bad deal. However, our friend and his family decided to move to San Francisco and, apparently, dragging 4 birds and a coop across county was not in the cards. The next thing I knew, we had a small flock in our yard! Lucky for me, my husband graciously promised to take care of all the cleaning and feeding. My kids have graciously promised to take care of all the egg-collecting. As for me, I keep them in a constant supply of kitchen scraps. Better than a garbage disposal, these girls will take care of any leftovers, peelings, or stale food. They have been eating everything from leftover oatmeal to spaghetti marinara to shredded cabbage.
After 1 week with the chickens, I have been won over. They are actually quite fun to have around. Not only do they give us 3-4 fresh eggs a day, they are inquisitive, friendly, and entertaining. They run right up to you if you approach the coop, and don’t mind at all if you pick them up or pet their feathers behind their head. Its kind of mesmerizing to watch them scratch in the grass, make a little pile of dirt, and then fluff around in it for a dust bath.
And, they seem to have their own little idiosyncrasies. For example, around noon every day, all the chickens march back into their coop to take a nap for about an hours or so, then they are march back out into their pen for a snack. I suspect that 2 of the birds like to lay their eggs later in the day, rather than at the break of dawn, and all the girls go in to keep each other company. I guess birds of a feather really do flock together!