That's right peeps (you like that?), we are getting us some backyard chickens! This urban family is going country!!
It all started when I saw Food, Inc. a few years ago. I was disgusted and wanted chickens then, but we lived in our old tract home super close to our neighbors and with a small backyard. So I started buying organic, free range eggs. But then I learned that even alleged "certified organic" eggs still often come from poorly treated chickens, as there is not enough regulation.
As soon as we moved into the new house with our big backyard (big for CA standards!), I wanted two things in my backyard...an herb/vegetable garden and my own chickens. Gary and the kids just planted our garden last Sunday (I need to post pics), which was my first priority, so on Sunday night, my chicken research frenzy began!
After tons of research, I think it's an even better idea than I originally thought. Fresh eggs have less cholesterol and significantly more nutrients than store bought eggs. Chickens are less work than a cat or dog. Chickens eat all the "bad" bugs- they are a natural bug repellant! They also eat weeds and basically anything else so you can give them, including ALL your table scraps- no more wasted food!! We will get brown, cream and blue/green eggs! And the best part of all, the educational aspects are priceless. I can't wait to show the kids where our food comes from, collect eggs with them every morning, give them some responsibility by helping clean the coop, etc.
I think I've decided on the breeds that I want. My first priority is personality- I want docile breeds that are kid-friendly and most likely to want to cuddle! ;) My second priority is egg production- obviously I want the most eggs possible (did you know that even the highest producers typically only lay 4-5 eggs a week, and that chickens stop producing eggs completely in winter?!). My third priority is egg color- I want a pretty egg basket! And my last priority is what the chicken looks like. :)
Red Star or Golden Buff (it's a Sexlink breed called by different names)
Ameraucana (they lay green, blue or pink eggs!)
Australorp (huge eggs producers and said to be "sweet and shy")
Easter Egger (that's the real name- they also produce blue or green eggs)
Orpington (not sure about this one- not one of the top producers but said to be very kid-friendly)
Barred Plymouth Rock (my favorite looks-wise- I love the pattern!)
Now I just need to convince Gary to build me a fancy chicken coop!!!!