Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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KATHY GARVEY, MS, MBA, RDN

Backyard Chickens: The Adventure

It's not so uncommon these days for people to raise chickens in their yard - I just never thought it would be me.  I am married to a guy who loves all things outdoor and he thought chickens would be a fun project for the family.  He was right!

 

The chicks first made their appearance in February of 2016 and at just a few days old, were the most adorable little bundles of joy.  Times seven.  His original thought was that all of them might not make it and by getting a few extra, we would eventually end up with 4 or so - one for each of our children.

 

Well, chickens are heartier than you might think and after a lot of manhandling and a brief stint living in a large box equipped with heat lamps in our exercise room, all 7 of them were ready for the backyard.  We started with a good-sized coop my husband built and then a run of about 50 feet long by 10 feet wide.  They escaped this with ease and had a party running all over the backyard.  Pooping everywhere, including all over my patio sitting area.  

 

Very fortunately, we knew another family with chickens who were looking to grow their flock, so 3 of our lovely ladies moved to the new family.  When we dropped them off, I admired their Omlet chicken fencing and shortly ordered some for our yard.  When it arrived, we expanded and secured the run, but the chickens continued to escape.  My friend with the chickens suggested we clip their wings, and after some basic You Tube training, we were successful.  

 

Overall, the chickens have been really fun.  The kids were so excited when we found the first egg last July, and are eager to go collect the 3-4 eggs they give us each day (less in the winter.)  The kids have a great time bringing the chickens any leftover pasta, bread, or fries, the chickens' favorite.  This Spring, my husband hung some heads of cabbage on bungee cords in their run, and I am not sure if the chickens or the kids were more amused.  

 

This summer, my sons are planning to build swings for the chickens, and I am hoping to establish some official dusting spots for them.  Our lovely ladies have been a great 

learning experience and a huge source of entertainment for our children and their friends.  

 

Secretly, my favorite part of the whole chicken project has come on those nights when we are rushed for time, trying to get the homework done before we head out to someone's game, and I am frantically trying to whip up a healthy dinner.  I just look out the window into the backyard and say, "Hey, how about eggs?"

 

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