(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.
(reposted from annarbor.com)