Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cluck cluck cluck....

I have been pestering John for awhile to consider letting me have a few chickens in our back yard.

Chickens??!!!??? he said.

But they're so cuuuuttteee! I said. And we could have all the fresh eggs we wanted.

He rolled his eyes.

Jul. Two years ago you said you couldn't live without a goat.

I still say that he would mow the lawn for us.

Sure. AND eat the blueberry plants and the strawberry bed and jump over the fence and poop everywhere and we'd have to feed the stupid thing and build a goat barn and...

OK, ok, already. I know - an adorable frisky little miniature goat might be a teensy bit impractical. And I know that our homeowners association would frown on us having one. I'm not going to bring up the issue of a furry sweet little shetland pony to keep me and the goat company, either. See how good I am? I patted his arm and looked pleadingly at his stern silhouette.  

BUT..... chickens? They're so small and fluffy and cute. And as long as we wouldn't have any roosters, it's legal to have them here. And they eat bugs! And lay eggs! Even Uncle Sam says we should raise chickens. Just two or three? C'mon, honey, puhleeeezzzeeeeee......

John put on his best patiently-explaining-but-firmly-refusing expression. I really dislike that expression since it usually means that he has dug his heels in and thus it is impossible to persuade him to change his mind. Dang.

Jul. (Also not a good sign. Sentences which begin with my name usually deliver bad news.) Ever since we've been married - and this started long before you became a sjoggie, missy - whenever you thought we should do something, it really means that I should do that something.

Of course. What's your point?

He sighed. His expression didn't change. Drat.

We have lots and lots of room in the back yard for a chicken coop, I exclaimed.

....and we could build a cute little chicken coop right between the potting shed and the green house. And paint it yellow to match the house and put adorable little white window boxes with geraniums on it. Perfect. So what do you think? Honey?........Honey?


So this chicken acquisition conversation took place as we were driving down to church on Sunday. In spite of my very best talking points, John didn't say anything but just stoically kept driving, which was yet another ominous indication of his resistance to buy into my chicken plan. I decided not to press the issue but resolved to do a seriously poultry - focused investigation.

Today, after spending hours and hours online, I have reluctantly come to the very surprising and disappointing conclusion that John is.....it is just killing me to write this.....John is.......sigh.....right.

I arrived at this decision after reading a delightful blog entitled Hanbury House, written by Lianne, who lives in California and does an admirable job in making the most of a very small urban lot. She grows fabulous organic produce and has a beautiful little flock of chickens who provide lovely fresh organic eggs. However, Lianne is quick to point out that keeping a flock of chickens out their back door is not for everyone. Her post entitled The Darkside of Backyard Chickens was persuasive:
  • Noise- All chickens, not just roosters, make some noise.  Some individual chickens are quieter than others, some breeds are typically less noisey, but once pullets start to lay, they all get more vocal.  Even my super quiet bantam cochins announce egg time.
  • Vacations-We have to arrange a pet sitter when we go out of town that doesn’t mind taking care of chickens.  Sometimes it can be difficult if my close neighbor (who also has chickens) is also out of town.
  • Droppings- Chickens will poop on the patio, outdoor furniture, or driveway if they have access to those areas.
  • Garden Damage- The hens can damage tender plants with their scratching and dust bathing.  However, my bantams do less damage than my large fowl hens used to.  They like to kick mulch out of garden beds looking for goodies to eat.  They will nibble and sample all of the plants.  When they find something they like, they will eat it unless it is protected.
Lianne has written several other logical and persuasive don't-own-chickens-unless-you-are-energetic-and-very-commited-to-them items on her list. You can read them all here.

I hate it when people act logically.

Stupid logic.


Hanbury House said...

Logical is the last thing my husband would call me when it comes to owning chickens! I neglected to mention in the "Darkside of Backyard Chickens" post that they can also be additive.

You have a talent for writing, and I learned a lot reading around your blog. I had not heard of Sjogren's syndrome prior to visiting your site.


sue said...

hi Julia

another down side would be the coyotes they would attract.

Personally, I'd love a horse in my backyard. Could have done it at our first house. We had a 1.3 acre lot, a four car garage that could have held a large stall and a tack/feed room. There was also a good sized shed. But my dear hubby said no. Engineers are party poopers and way too practical for there own good. So now I have a twelve year old girl who is a horse nut and owns everything you need for a horse except the actual horse. Her lesson horse is very much loved and we lease him in the summer. I would still rather have one in the back yard though

Julia Oleinik said...

Sue - I want a pony, too!!

Lianne - Seriously, I have a bad case of chicken envy....and your green thumb.