Backyard Chickens: Why we have chickens

(This is the second in a series of ten Friday posts about Backyard Chickens to give an overview of my experiences these past two years.)

At a recent a schmancy schmooze party filled with very intelligent and bejeweled individuals, probably tired from small talk about the weather, I mentioned that we have backyard chickens at our home in Ann Arbor.

“Chickens!” This very well dressed woman shrieks. “WHY do you have chickens!?”

I am not used to such a response, most of my friends find my obsession endearing (at least they pretend), so I rallied to genuinely respond. “I have chickens because I eat eggs.” Nonplussed, the woman quickly escaped.

I did not talk about the fact that when the chickens were small. I could hold their warm bodies in my hand and their skin was so thin, I could see blood and bones. I did not talk about the chirps of small chicks melting my heart and their soft, soft down, velvet to touch. I did not talk about holding one against my heart and feeling it thrum, like a cat’s purr. Or how soft they are, or how beautiful their feathers are, or how I prefer watching them to watching television.

I did not mention they sleep in a heap on the feed shelf in their coop, abjuring our painstakingly constructed roosts. I did not talk about watching them strut around the garden fluffing their wings. Or fighting over a worm, or digging holes for dust baths, or fleeing from the dog, or pecking our cat.

I did not mention food security or taking responsibility for where our food comes from. I did not mention poultry farms – chickens crammed their entire lives in a cage under artificial lights and the litter from those farms going to feed cattle. I did not mention any of that to the well-dressed woman – I just mentioned eggs.

A fresh egg from a happy chicken is BRIGHT orange, round, tight, and delicious. To throw in a bit of Plato – it is the egg, not the shadow of the egg.

Lettuce Lady,


(reposted from

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1 Response to Backyard Chickens: Why we have chickens

  1. We recently expanded our flock of chickens to 16 from 4 bantams we started with late last summer. They are a wonderful addition to our yard and help us do a better job composting and hopefully maintaining our garden.

    When I tell people what I spend my spare time doing, taking care of chickens, making food from scratch, working in the garden, people give me some pretty strange looks. But honestly, life with chickens is just so much more entertaining. We love them!

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