I can't remember what exactly possessed me to raise chickens. Maybe it was living across the street from cows.
But maybe it was a desire I've had since childhood. One that I'd pushed deep down inside myself.
I've always been interested in farm animals. Never chickens, that I remember, but horses. Like many young girls, I wanted to tame the wild mustang and ride bareback and barefoot (of course) across the prairie with my beautiful long hair (too bad it was short) flowing in the wind. I'm sure that somewhere in the recesses of my brain I desired other farm animals to keep my wild mustang company.
Or...maybe it was just the cows across the street. Anyhow...
My husband's colleague had a chicken tractor in his backyard.
He raised about 4 hens every summer to have fresh eggs and then gave them to his farmer neighbor for the winter. I had never heard of a chicken tractor, but it immediately peaked my interest. I looked on the internet and checked out books on chicken tractoring and raising a small flock of hens. I was currently reading books and magazines about hobby farming, veggie gardening, and homesteading. We only lived on half an acre, but we didn't plan on staying there long. Someday, in my mind (not so much my husband's...), we'd move to a parcel of land that I could fence and till and harvest. But until we moved, I wanted some chickens in this thing called a chicken tractor.
My husband, Nate, did not share in my excitement. However, he graciously listened as I threw my pitch for this sustainable, money saving chicken tractor that would fertilize our grass as well as provide fresh, free eggs all summer long and possibly into the winter (I was sure we could winterize the thing) with minimal effort on my part. So, after being not-so-fully convinced, but wanting to save some money on eggs and please his wonderful wife (or just get me to stop bugging him about it), we spent $150 (not looking good for saving money so far) and built a very sturdy, heavy, shingled chicken tractor. Because chickens need shingles.
I read a Book that made raising a three hen flock sound like a romantic, fun-filled walk in the woods. This Lady would watch her hens from the kitchen window. They would perch on her shoulder when she was outside mingling with them. She'd feed them special treats from her hand. She'd call them by their chicken names. I'm pretty sure they could talk. It all sounded so picturesque, so dear and wonderful. I could almost see my own colorfully plumed flock behaving so appropriately - sharing their grubs and pecking those tasty treats ever so daintily out of my open hand.
I had to get some of these sweet-tempered, well-mannered birds!
To be continued...