How I Ended Up with Chickens…
I love eating eggs, but after California voters passed Proposition 2 in 2008 to increase the standards of protection for poultry animals, I learned a lot about the plight of egg laying hens on commercial egg farms. I swore off of eggs for a bit while searching for specialty health stores where I could buy eggs with a “Certified Humane” label. I began to dream of one day owning my own egg laying hens.
Fast forward to February 2012. A news story broke about a central California poultry farm where 50,000 chickens were abandoned for more than two weeks. Animal rescue organizations stepped in immediately and saved 4,000 of the surviving hens from euthanasia. This was it, not only could I fulfill my dream of having my own fresh eggs every morning, but I could save lives and help animals and their rescuers at the same time! I started doing research online and asking all my friends and co workers that grew up in the country about their hens. I found a wonderful coop at a great price on ebay from a local seller, I bought it and strapped it to the roof of my Jeep. When I got home, I placed the coop on a small patch of concrete and secured the bottom with thick poultry wire to ensure the enclosure was safe from predators like dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums or coyotes.
A few months later, the chickens were healthy enough to travel to southern California. I stopped by a local supply store for organic feed and scratch, and some straw to stuff in the coop’s nesting areas. When the big day came, I grabbed two cat crates and my son and drove to the local nonprofit office where the chickens were available for adoption.
I read over Animal Place’s adoption paperwork, including a promise not to kill the animals for food, or to sell their eggs for profit. Then a volunteer stepped behind a fence and selected two of the dozen plus White Turlock hens for our family. I named the larger hen Henrietta, and my son named the smaller one Sally. Within an hour of getting home, one of them had laid an egg!
I love having my two little hens, they don’t take up a lot of room and they lay fresh eggs for us every morning. A lot of city dwellers are starting to embrace the urban farming movement and if you’ve got the room, having backyard chickens could be a great experience!
As always, we urge you to choose adoption and first check your local animal shelter or a rescue group like Animal Place or Farm Sanctuary. If having hens of your own is not an option, consider seeking out eggs with a “Certified Humane” label so that you help support the welfare of our feathered friends.
Have you hopped on the urban farming bandwagon ? Tell us about your experience below.