It’s no doubt that there is a growing desire in our society these days to know where our food is coming from. And, on top of the importance to support our farmers and local Farmers Markets, many people are choosing to have their own gardens, or raise their own livestock, regardless of their background in farming.
Gwendoline Wilson is one woman whose love for animals, along with a desire to be more knowledgable on where her food is sourced, sparked an interest in keeping her own chickens to have as pets and food providers. These ‘backyard’ chickens have provided her not only with fresh eggs and meat, but also with companionship.
“We raise hens for eggs, and we also order birds for meat that we harvest ourselves at home. Being so intimately involved with the process and with these feathery, charming creatures caused us to look at all the foods we ate a little differently, and to try and grow as much of our own food as was possible,” Gwen told me.
Gwen and her husband starting raising chickens around 8 years ago, after building their own coop. They started with 12 silver-laced Wyandottes the first year, and continued to add different varieties until they reached around 50 chickens, total.
“We try to go into the winter with about that many birds, since the coop is pretty good sized. They keep each other warmer.”
When building a coop and bringing chickens to your home, a few things to consider will be coop size, type of birds, healthy food choices, and safety. As you have seen through Gwen, they can be very rewarding, in more ways than one. They are quite social creatures, as I found out on my visit to Gwen’s country home, and having fresh eggs straight from the coop is always a bonus!
For more info on keeping chickens, visit Fresh Eggs Daily, a blog dedicated to providing tips, stories and recipes from an expert chicken-keeper!