Dale Devereux Copeland

My wife’s started reading this book on chickens and is all fired up about it. It’s “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock” by Harvey Ussery. The thing that’s blowing her away isn’t to do with their meat, eggs or feathers, but their ability to process compost and help transform hard clay into high quality soil. She can’t friggin wait till spring to try this stuff out, and hey, I’m totally with her.

I had no idea I would like chickens. I carried around this idea for years that they were no more than walking neck-kinks with skin mohawks that stank up your yard. Little did I know they’re┬ácharming, loyal, little critters with┬ápersonalities (like every other non-slug beastie on the planet) and that are ridiculously entertaining.

Parrots and budgies and their ilk are nice and all, but they’re useless. As far as non-dirt stuff in a garden goes, parrots fall somewhere between people and flowers. You can talk to them, they talk back and they’re nice to look at. Chickens, on the other hand, lie between people and potatoes. They don’t talk back (much), they can have great aesthetic appeal, and are a good alternative to meatballs. Which, I’m told, a person shouldn’t consume every day.

One of the highlights of my day is seeing my teenage rooster, Rusty, skid into the kitchen and drift on the slippery laminate to get his daily treat. Happy critters make my day. Every once in a while I sit him on my lap and give him a big pat session while I watch the tube. His eyes glaze over and he settles into me like putty, chillin’ & poopin’ like one of my own dear offspring.

Now, apparently, we’re going to get an incubator, hatch a crapload of chicks and turn an acre or two of clay into prime growing medium. That is, if I don’t turn them all into my little pals first.

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