I haven’t posted in over a year. In addition to work, I’ve been spending my time working on my master’s, and when I have the time and focus to write, I have been working on my novel. That was all going very well until this semester. My developmental psychology course is quite intensive, and I rarely have time to work on my book. To do good work, I need to be in the “zone,” and that zone cannot exist when writing is sporadic.
But a blog can.
Just as my fingers were itching to write, along came a project worth blogging about.
That’s right, folks. Chickens. In the coming months, “scratch” will take on a whole new meaning.
Ever since the earliest days when I longed for the homesteading lifestyle, I have wanted to keep chickens. Growing up in a most urban area of New Jersey, I was still aware of chickens and the allure of the agriculturist niche. Still, I’ve spent most of my time as a teacher and academic. Gardening and experiments in self-sufficiency remain hobbies. While I have not mastered these skills, I am as always itching to experiment, research, and try something new.
I like eggs, but I distrust the eggs I buy in the grocery store, even the organic eggs that must be preferable to the alternative. I also like genetics, and animal breeding has appealed to me since I was a child dreaming of running a hamster breeding operation out of my garage. (Didn’t happen. Probably a good thing, hindsight being 20/20….) Finally, I actually just like chickens! I remember birthday parties at a hobby farm in Lawrence when I would chase around chickens just to pick them up. I relished something in the mass of them.
So I began where I am comfortable beginning – with a book. I purchased Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow about a month ago and read it cover to cover… several times. I considered. I debated (…with myself). I demurred. I rebutted. I objected. And finally, Mark said, if I was so interested in them, I should just go ahead and get some chickens. Ahem. Okay, very well then. Full steam ahead.
There were many decisions to be made. What breeds should I obtain? How should I obtain them? How many birds? All hens, or a roo too? How should they be housed? How should the housing be heated? What will they eat? Will they be in a run, a tractor, or free range? While I am waiting for the real fun to begin, I will occupy myself by explaining my decisions and thought process to you… in excruciating detail. Should be fun. 😉