Pecking Order


A momentary lapse in reason found me driving 45 minutes out into the country Saturday morning to pick up 10 week old baby chicks.  We live in an old house with a barn and 12 acres of land, most of which is treed and been cut out a bit by the previous owners.  I’ve never really thought of it as a farm per se but my nine-year old niece says that since there are now chickens here it’s officially a farm.  Still, a farm does not a farmer make since these ten chirpy chicks are camping out in large Rubbermaid totes under a heat lamp in my office.  Yikes.  We must really love eggs. (chicks are cheaper than pullets)

I had wanted to get some hens for a while as part of my fantasy of raising and growing some of our own food – but the reality of the fantasy collides every once in a while when you find yourself dragging chick starter into the house.  Did I mention there are chicks in my office?

The chicks (that I’m hoping are all hens – ha ha) are a variety of hearty heritage breeds:  Americaunas, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Brahmas, Silver Laced Wyndnots and one single Barred Rock.  They are actually very cute little chickens that my nieces and nephews have already fallen in love with and claimed as their own.  Mitchell even went as far to name his Sheila.  Not sure where Sheila came from – I said I thought old-fashioned lady names suited chickens best and he comes up with Sheila.  He’s five and doesn’t know any Sheila’s to my knowledge.  Kids are funny that way and to be honest, it suits her.  She’s already mothering two of the smaller and still fuzzy Reds.  There are several skirmishes that break out and I for one can’t wait until they can move outside and into the coop where chickens belong.  It’ll probably be the end of June before we see any eggs though.   I’ve discovered they don’t like listening to podcasts but seem to chirp along quietly when I put my Superchic playlist on.  No joke.

The point of all this is even though it’s a bit inconvenient now, I’m looking forward to fresh eggs from chickens I’m on a first name basis with and who eat real food made with things they’re supposed eat. (I’m hoping they develop a voracious appetite for earwigs.)

Still, even if you can’t park a few peeps in your office you can seek out locally produced produce, eggs and meat.  There are many resources and family farms around that need our business and support.  Many of these products are produced within 100 miles of where you live and are of a superior quality.  You may also be surprised to find out – with a little shopping around – many of these products are the same prices as the big grocery store chains.  Look around, do a search in your own area to see who is producing naturally raised beef, chicken and eggs.  You may be surprised who your neighbours are.


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