I remember leafing through books at our local Barnes & Noble. Staring for what seemed like hours at photos of chickens, coops, farms, and what looked like the happiest people on the planet: chicken keepers. I’d show the pictures to my daughter, Brie.
“Look,” I’d remark. “Doesn’t this look like fun?” And I’d point to a perky hen plucking away at blades of grass while a proud hen keeper gazed on, adoringly.
“Can we have a chicken of our own?” my daughter inquired.
Sold. Now, I was on a mission. Where to get chickens? And what the heck do you do with them once you bring them home?
After Googling a few local sources, I found a lovely lady, Judy Morris, who started a business building coops and selling brooding kits, with the support of My Pet Chicken. I met her at our local Westport Farmers’ Market one fine spring day.
The rest is history. We met Judy out at her farm in Weston, scooped up six of the adorable chicks, along with a brooder kit and chick food, and rushed home with our bundles of joy.
Fast forward two years, and we are now the proud “mamas” of 14 gorgeous hens, and chronicle our adventures in backyard farming through blogging. Simply Chicks is our way of sharing these stories with friends and family who live in other towns, and sustainable backyard farming has become a way of life.
The girls’ home was exponentially expanded, and a garden was built… completely chicken proofed, to round out our local, organic food source endeavors.
We amuse ourselves with the chickens’ antics, chasing them around the back yard when free range time is over, giving them cabbage heads and pumpkins to munch on for snacks, and posing them on tree branches for photo opportunities.
We find ourselves, even in the early stages of this hobby, being asked to speak on behalf of chicken keeping at local events, and have been invited to Ecofest, Earthplace’s Green Earth Fair, Wakeman Town Farm, and Temple Israel. It’s an honor to be thought of as an expert … though we defer to far more seasoned poultry enthusiasts when it comes to health and animal husbandry matters.
Every day, Brie and I are entertained by our girls, and learn new lessons about caring for our feathered friends. Building a sturdy coop with all the comforts of a hen home, feeding them organic fare and nutritious table scraps, letting them have free range time each day, and, yes, snuggling with them, we believe, helps the birds maintain optimal health.
It’s the least we can do for those delicious, fresh eggs, which quite literally go from nesting box to the frying pan within a day … We gobble them up as quickly as the girls make them, and are grateful for these edible treasures.
“Thank you,” we say to our hens, each time we reach for an egg to place in our basket for breakfast.
It’s a good life, and we are happier for it, indeed.