When I was in eighth grade, my stepdad spotted a chicken on the side of the highway not far from where we lived. We pulled over, and he picked her up and brought her back to the car. He has a special whistle he uses with birds, and so he whistled to her and cuddled her as we drove home. It happened that we had a little pen in the back yard, so we named her Abigail and she lived back there for a few months before something or someone took off with her head. We figured she had at least a little reprieve before her untimely demise, since she was probably on her way to the supermarket shelf when she fell off the truck. Nonetheless, she was a sweet little bird, and had she been able to lay eggs, I would have been even sadder to lose her.
If you think you might like to have chickens in your back yard, we have a variety of resources to check out. My family’s chicken arrived rather serendipitously, but you might like to choose which breed you want and learn something about chicken care before you start out. Joining a group of like-minded people might also be helpful, especially in keeping up with local ordinances.
- Choosing & Raising Chickens: The Complete Guide to Breeds and Welfare, by Jeremy Hobson & Celia Lewis.
- A Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities, by Gail Damerow.
- Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance: Reflections on Keeping Chickens, by Martin Gurdon.
- Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock, by Ashley English.
- The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit, by Jennifer Megyesi.