My good friend Tom used to keep chickens. "C'mon, Suzanny! Try it. They're fun. They eat your bugs and they give you eggs!" His exhortions stuck around, even if his chickens didn't—strict city ordinances and a fearful neighbor sent Tom's chickens on a one-way trip to a Livermore relative's yard.
But my town loves backyard livestock, so this year I took the plunge and bought some laying hens and ducks from some local breeders. It's extra work for me, and extra expense for the household, buying their feed and grit and oyster shell supplement, though I hope to reduce some of that by selling half-dozens to my neighbors.
And even though Tom was right, and chickens are tons of fun, and eat my bugs, what I'm really glad about is I never have to buy a store-bought egg again.
And if you think you're doing your part by buying cage-free/organic/happy-chicken eggs from the grocery (like I used to think), read Sean Anderson's article in the Arcata Eye.
Want to raise your own eggs? You might like the eglu backyard chicken coop, cute though pricey. Or if you're handier than I, build your own with the plans at the Backyard Chickens site. And if the whole idea of raising chickens for eggs is just too much bother (or you can't keep chickens where you live), find a neighbor or local farmer who does.
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