Family chickens

Our recent conversations about what to do next have centered on livestock. Goats, pigs, cows, sheep. We haven’t talked about llamas yet, but nothing has been ruled out. Livestock is simply the next obvious step in our journey towards self-sufficiency.

There are pros and cons to every animal, and to every breed of every animal. We are reluctant to bite off too much, especially heading into high summer. So we settled on what we already know: chickens.

We currently have six laying hens for eggs, but haven’t tried broilers yet (meat chickens). These birds are bred for rapid growth and only take about 8 weeks from hatching to grow to maturity. We thought we’d take a stab at raising some for ourselves, maybe stock that freezer in the garage that’s been sitting mostly empty. While discussing this at a family function, my sister-in-law overheard and threw her hat in the ring: “We’d buy a couple!” Then another sister chimed in, “us too!” I wasn’t expecting it, but of course.. why not? After all, these would be well cared for, free range chickens–healthy and humane. And they’re close enough to drop by and visit (but don’t get too friendly).

So what has developed here lately, instead of community-supported agriculture (CSA), is family-supported agriculture, FSA. Or I could call it FFSA, friends-and-family-supported agriculture because one of my buddies is getting in on it too. We’ve got 30 chickens on order, and I’m drafting up plans for a mobile chicken coop so we can move them around the property as needed. We’ve even got some of the names picked out: Nuggets, Noodle Soup, Kiev, Cordon Bleu, Pot Pie, Tenders, Enchilada.

And get this: the baby chicks get sent by US mail! We’re literally going to pick up 30 chirping chicks at the local post office in a couple of weeks. Should make a great blog post.