Posted Feb 28, 2014
Growing up, for as long as I can remember my grandparents raised chickens on their farm and growing up, for as long as I can remember I have had a--possibly irrational--fear of chickens!
I am not really sure how or why I developed this fear, but it is one that has lingered well into adulthood. My grandfather and I were extremely close and I enjoyed shadowing him as he worked the farm where I spent much of my childhood. His job every morning was to go into the chicken coop to retrieve the eggs and attend to the chickens, which I always watched from the safety of the gate.
My fear of the chickens however did not stop my grandfather from teaching me how to properly care for them and I learned a great deal from the safety of that gate.
My grandfathers chickens were California Whites which he had raised from chicks, They were great egg producers which meant there was never a shortage of eggs on the farm. All the eggs my grandfather gathered were white and large in size. His chickens were extremely hardy and very rarely did they not fulfill or exceed their life expectance.
While they were great egg producers, we never raised them for their meat as my grandfather and grandmother where never a fan of the whole ringing of the necks and plucking of the feathers.
My grandfather always ensured the coop was closed during the night for the protection of the chickens and open during the day to allow them to forage and roam. He also taught me the importance of collecting a hens eggs daily as allowing them to sit on them can cause their egg production to decrease or cease. I also learned the sooner you gather the eggs the better off you are as they are purer and require less cleaning.
As with any pet or livestock animal you may own, responsibility and consideration is needed when deciding to raise chickens. However, in a day where so many chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, and preservatives are prevalent in much of the foods we consume, it is really beneficial and economical to raise your own chickens both for egg production and meat, that is assuming you can stand to be around the vicious beasts!