This week we are introducing a new feature at Peas and Justice.  Jay and Eileen, two good friends of mine, will be writing about their chicken ownership adventures in Chicago.  Jay will be writing most of the pieces as a how-to guide in raising chickens, and hopefully convincing some folks (like me) to start their own chicken raising adventure!  Please feel free to comment and let us know if you have chicken questions that you'd like answered!  --Mary
Greetings from Chicago and the “Dancing Chicken home for Wayward Cacklers,” namely, Mae, Jello, Abu and Mehidabel.  These four girls are our chickens:  Mae is a Red Star, Jello is an Easter Egger, Abu is a Silver-Laced Wyandotte and Mehidabel is an Austrolorp.  They are all characters who keep us entertained.  We decided to keep chickens for the novelty of it and because, believe it or not, they are easier to care for than a dog.  They need feed (which costs “chicken feed” to buy), clean water and a safe place to sleep; beyond that, they are pretty self-sufficient.  No need to take them for a walk, no need to spay them, no training (unless you count them getting us to give them treats on demand).    
When we made the decision to get chickens we did what everyone else does now and searched the internet.  I also bought several books including An Idiot’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Belinger,  Raising Chickens for Dummy’s by Willis and Ludlow, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: 3rd Edition  by Gail Damerow, and The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! by Carleen Madigan.  

We got information on coop ideas, what kind of breeds to get, when to get them, how many to get, City of Chicago laws and ordinances, etc. There is a lot out there to learn but really it turned out to be easy.  We settled on getting our chickens through an internet supplier, “My Pet Chicken” (MyPetChicken.com) as their site seemed the friendliest.  Delivery was through, you guessed it, the US Post Office.  Apparently they’ve been delivering day old baby chicks for over 100 years!!  It seems Sears used to ship them this way when you could get anything through their catalog.   

The girls have been in every room in the house since they arrived as chicks, starting in a box in the living room, ending in a big box in the basement before moving out into the coop outside.  Eileen still likes to bring them in once in a while to visit but they’re outside pets.  They seem completely happy wandering about the yard looking at everything, pecking at bugs and grass, flying/climbing on the compost and scratching, always scratching.  We’ve been able to fence off a few garden spaces, but everywhere else is their domain.  They love it when we join them and do work in the garden, work on the coop or just sit outside and read.  

Nothing calms a person down after a tense day like sitting outside among the happy chickens. We have been so happy with them, and have been big proponents of everyone getting some chickens!  Whenever we mention that we have them the response is usually, “Can you have chickens here?” followed by, “Can I see them?” concluding with, “I want to get chickens.”  We hope these writings continue that encouragement.
 


Comments

jenny fagan
09/19/2012 06:13

comglad yyoyou ggogot tththe cchchichicken fever! Been wrangling chickens down in the suburbs of st louis for over 2here years now! and i m still loving it! have 5to girls! and have finally refined my chicken keeping. The heat was tough this summerbut we made!

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