My love affair with chickens
My love affair with chickens began in the summer of 2001. We had moved into our new home almost one year earlier. Our home is in the country. The previous owners used to have chickens. They had installed a very good quality coop in the shed that was insulated enough to withstand even our Québec winters. There is even a light bulb to provide extra heat. Neat little ladders climb up to the laying/sleeping boxes at the top. I was also enchanted with the idea of returning to the land-to garden and be closer to nature.
Our first summer, my son and I went to the only farmers cooperative we knew of that sold chickens for raising-which was two hours from home. I wasn't planning on killing them to eat because I didn't have the stomach for that-but eating their eggs seemed perfectly ok (what a numbskull I was). Looking back now, it was pretty sad to see all those poor chickens pressed horribly close together in the packing crates-barely able to move. But I consoled myself with the thought that at least my chickens would have decent lives-roaming free in my garden. We weren't vegans at this point, but we were becoming more sensitive to organic issues. My thoughts were that organic eggs had to be better than non-organic ones. Sidebar, my cholesterol levels, just before becoming vegan, were off the charts(in the 500's) and even though I was only in my thirties, I was considered at extreme risk for cardiovascular disease by my conventional doctor. Now, I know that I was definitely a walking time bomb.
Since going 811rv, my levels have dropped considerably, but I still have probably many years of healing to do before they're very good-I did some tests recently and I'll post them once I know the results. So much for organic animal products being healthy!!!
I let my son choose the chickens. He chose 5 beautiful red hens and we were going to leave it at that, but since he's a boy he wanted a rooster too. The girl at the check out counter told us that roosters didn't serve much purpose, obviously, for laying, to-be-eaten-eggs, but they were pretty. Boy was she wrong!
Our rooster was blond with some red and brown feathers too. He reminded me of Billy Idol with his crest and bleach blond feathers and that's what we named him. We put the 5 hens in the travel box we had prepared and then added Billy Idol. Boy you should have seen his reaction to being placed in a box with five lovely hens! His eyes enlarged as he looked down at them and I swear his utter joy was palpable.
We drove home and didn't hear a peep from the poor chickens. Once we arrived, I thought it would be difficult to get them out of the box and into the coop, but they were so terrified that they just let themselves be lifted one by one out of the box. I placed them head first in their individual boxes in the coop with some water and food on the floor. The next morning, only one chicken had dared to even turn herself around so we called her Ginger from the movie "Chicken Run" since she seemed to be the bravest.
Full Story to follow...