At least that's what my husband would say if you asked him about my chickens.
Yes, I have chickens and I love chickens! Could there be a more awesome bird? What's not to love about chickens? There are so many shapes, sizes, textures and colors. I mean, A girl could collect chickens like some women collect purses. (Yes, I can just see myself going down the street now, with a lovely soft Cochin tucked under my arm.)
Not only do chickens come in such variety, that you could never get bored with them, but they are totally useful. Chickens are a great food source supplying us with fresh eggs, and meat. Could you imagine our diets with out chicken it it? All those baked goodies and yummy chickeny foods would be gone. How could we get by with out Angel Food Cake, Cookies, Eggnog or our beloved Chicken Noodle Soup, Butter Chicken or Chicken Stir Frys. Yes our culinary world would be a whole lot more boring without the addition of the chicken.
My Chickens are also very useful besides giving me culinary delights. They are great at digging up the ground. They take great delight in the spring and summer of clearing the soil from along my house, and kicking the stones out onto the lawn where I can hit them with the lawn mower. They also absolutely love to find areas where you plant things. Yes, I can see them now (in my mind because it's winter and everything is buried deep in the snow) as they dig, heads down, feet kicking back, dirt and freshly planted plants flying back behind them. Yes, I can picture them as they pause to look for bugs, then look around before continuing. They truly enjoy this. And truth be known, I really do enjoy watching them, even if they are being little stinkers. But really, I know they are just trying to be helpful in eliminating all those nasty bugs.
Yes, Chickens could be good for the garden, if you think about it. They can dig (rotter-till), eat pesky bugs, thin plants out (unintentionally), fertilize, weed, and harvest. They are also a great clean up crew. They are more then glad to eat fruit that has fallen off the tree, excess veggies, or scraps from the kitchen. My chickens make wonderful garbage disposal. They really do love the kitchen bucket that contains scraps. What compost pile? The chickens have eaten all the left overs, the peelings and anything else they can get their claws and beaks into.
Chickens also provide hours of entertainment. Seriously. In the summer while the chickens are out free ranging, grab a chair, pull it up and sit and watch for a while. You will see them in their little social groups, making their way across the lawn. Betty and Gerta the two pals who always hang out together going off to check the apple trees. A group of chickens dust bathing in the dry dirt, all laying on their sides in the warm sun, with their wings out and their legs kicking and rubbing as they try and fill their feathers with dirt. And then as they stagger away so weighted down their legs can hardly support themselves. Peck and Pecky running with their legs kicking out behind them, necks stretched out to go see what Boris the rooster has found. This reminds me of a rooster named Curly that I had. Curly was a little frizzle. He tried to be popular with the ladies but he just didn't have the suave coolness that they were looking for despite his efforts. One day, he had something he found and he was clucking in extreme excitement to get the hens over to him. He kept picking it up and dropping it to show them the great prize. One by one the hens came to see what treasure he had. One by one, the hens turned and walked away, rejecting his offering of love. So curiosity got the better of me, and I too went to see his prize. It was a piece of dried poo with some grass sticking out of it. After that, I could understand why the hens walked away in disgust.
Roosters are very entertaining too. They have a purpose that is important. They stand proud, watching the sky for danger. They keep an eye out for goodies for their ladies, and when they find something delectable, they will do a special, very excited clucking that will bring hens running from all across the yard. They pick it up and drop it and point to it with their beaks to show them the prize. When they have the hens round him, he will let the hens eat first. (Sometimes I think that roosters show more chivalry them many men I know.) Have you ever seen the way a rooster will dance to attract a female? Who would think that a lowly chicken would dance to attract a mate? They do this lovely circle dance and drop a wing and try and show off their glory, and if the hen likes it, she will allow him to mate. I can't imagine my flock without the roosters.
And then there is the Broody Hen. Oh, the wonderful broody hen. They are just amazing. They sit on their eggs for 3 weeks turning them with loving care everyday. Only getting off once a day to go to the bathroom and eat and drink. Sometimes they don't even get off that often. They are very protective over their brood. Puffing up, screeching and pecking at any hand that dares to try and take their precious eggs. When at last the eggs start to hatch, these beautiful mommies will softly cluck and encourage the chicks that are struggling to break their way into life. A Momma hen is very patient with her little ones, letting them climb all over her pecking at her comb, wattles, and eyes, never scolding them or pecking them back. She will defend her babies with her life, and offer them shelter until they have more then outgrown them, spreading her wings to give them cover and warmth.
Yes, I have chickens here. I have chickens there. And yes, on a beautiful summers day, I have chickens everywhere! And I wouldn't have it any other way! I can't imagine life without chickens. They add so much to it. There are people who just don't understand it, but that's ok. I know that they add a lot to my life, and for that, I'll be forever grateful. I could go on and on about chickens. The way that they benefit us and how we could perhaps learn a little from them, but this is enough for today.