Here are some pictures of the chicks we just got from a place called Mill Valley Chickens which raises different breeds for people who want to keep chickens. We got 5 different breeds: Ameraucana, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Welsummer, and Sicilian Buttercup. Below the pictures of the chicks, I have included what these beautiful breeds will look like full-grown. Each breed has a different mood, appearance, and lays different eggs. We are expecting a mix of light blue eggs, white eggs, light brown eggs, and dark brown speckled eggs.
I was inspired by the farm at Chewonki to get chickens and I convinced my parents to let us get them as a birthday present. The biggest reason was that I wanted to stop buying eggs from the store by relying completely on eggs which I had helped produce. I know exactly how these birds are treated, what they are fed, and what goes into raising them.The chicks are only a week old, but I imagine it will be the same kind of joy that comes from growing your own food in your garden: checking up, giving them what they need to grow, and then waiting for your amazing, satisfying product. Chickens make such good pets that the product is definitely only a part of the process.
It makes me happy that chickens are becoming more and more popular. It makes so much sense to me. I’ve always debated the rightness of keeping a pet. I know that in the end I am supporting the artificial breeding of animals for traits that are desirable to humans. It seems kind of selfish. And it’s no different with chickens, except here they serve the important purpose of feeding us. To me, that makes it worth it. We aren’t going to stop chickens from being bred and crossed, but we can give all that history its original purpose back by bringing it all home. Even if it means taking another animal’s eggs, we are participating in our food system rather than sitting to the side and watching it happen (or most of the time, not even watching).
If it is possible in your house, I highly recommend getting chickens. I know many people who keep chickens and say that it is easy and cheap. That is a practical reason. But if you want to get involved in the production of your own food and take joy from raising an animal to produce that food for you, that is an important, moral, personal reason. If you are interested in getting chickens and have any questions, feel free to ask and there is also a great site http://www.backyardchickens.com/ where you can find things out. I do also suggest you look up the laws on keeping chickens in your city.
Here is a project going on in New York to bring these ideas to people living in the city. http://handpickednation.com/watch/the-city-chicken-project/ I think these are the kinds of projects, that if executed practically and with the public in mind could help normal people across America. -Simon