I hate CAFOs. HATE THEM. Learning about CAFOs led to my decision to become a vegetarian over a decade ago and I’ve never looked back. Eating eggs, however, was still a problem for me. I have no ethical reservations about eating an unfertilized egg, but I don’t want to give a single dollar to support operations that utilize battery cages and restrict animals to unnatural confinement.
After reading about the nutritional benefits of free-range eggs – they have less cholesterol, less saturated fat, and more Vitamin A, E, and Beta Carotene than commercial eggs – it was easy to see why I needed some backyard chickens! Problem solved- more nutritious eggs plus I know that these chickens will be raised with love and care and allowed to free range all over our backyard.
Steven worked pretty hard to convince me that getting baby chicks and then leaving on our 2-week honeymoon to Spain was a poor idea – I begrudgingly agreed. So, the very first weekend we were back, we made the trip to our local feed store and picked out 4 of the fluffiest little chicks you could imagine. We settled on two Rhode Island Red and two Plymouth Rock chicks and picked up a chicken starter kit and some starter feed.
Back home we set up a makeshift brooder out of a Tupperware bin, plugged in the heat lamp, set up the food and water, and then sat back and adored the little fluff balls. I was sure something would happen to at least one of them – they looked so fragile and we were beginners, sure to make a mistake somewhere. But, they grew quickly and I read everything I could find about raising chickens, and eventually they were ready to venture outside.
We ordered a coop from a local company – it arrived quickly and was fairly easy to construct. I highly recommend Urban Coop Company if you are in the market. This July, we moved the chicks out into their new coop. I was so afraid of something breaking into the coop and harming my darling chickens, so Steven fortified it pretty heavily, and we’ve had no issues with predators so far.
The chicks have grown up into adult chickens with full personalities. They love treats – cracked corn, watermelon, apples etc. I’m working on getting them more comfortable with being handled – that’s still a work in progress. I will honestly say, I don’t have a single regret in getting chickens. They are so entertaining to watch as they run around the yard flapping their wings, and I’m really looking forward to that first omelet.