Feathered Fowl and Failure

ABANDON: to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in

I’m having a bit of an identity crisis.  I want to be an urban farmer.  I do.  I love the idea of near self-sufficiency and the ultimate in “local” consumption.  My problem is the poop…and the raccoons.

In theory, chickens are the perfect way to complete the healthy living puzzle.  They produce eggs and poop.  I eat their eggs and use their poop as nutrient rich compost to fertilize the garden which grows veggies and weeds.  I eat the veggies and feed the scraps and weeds to the chickens.  Who lay eggs and poop.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

It sounded ideal.  And, it was.  I fed the chickens and the chickens fed me. We were happy.  For a couple of years.

But then, one chicken died (you can read her obituary here) and the other chickens began to lay less frequently.  I was spending more time cleaning the coop and less time scrambling eggs.  At some point the egg/poop ratio reached a tipping point and I realized that I needed to make succession plans.     

Originally, I planned to “cull” the flock and introduce new birds that would produce eggs for another couple of years and continue our closed-loop urban farming nirvana.  But then, the raccoons came and I realized that if my kids were sleeping through the night but I was awake protecting birds who produce more poop than eggs something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. 

After Husband fell in our pond while chasing away raccoons and had to sacrifice sleep for middle-of-the-night coop repairs, he was more vocal about his dislike of the chickens.  Admittedly, they’ve always been “my thing.”  It took me nearly seven years of negotiations to get Husband to agree to try chickens.   Relatively early on, he viewed it as a failed experiment.  I was slower to reach the same conclusion.

But, an especially soggy and fragrant New Year’s Day coop cleaning was the final straw.  I listed three old hens onCraigslist the next day.

What is that man doing exiting my backyard with a large plastic tub, you ask?  He is taking our hens on a Rubbermaid cruise in the back of his SUV.  He tells me that he has a coop ready for them.  To be honest, I don’t care if it’s a coop or a crockpot. 

I confess I am relieved to see them leave. 

Plus, now I don’t have to get Husband a Valentine’s present.  A fowl-free backyard is all he really wanted.

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3 thoughts on “Feathered Fowl and Failure

  1. I’m now inspired to go back and see whether “The Good Neighbors” ever addressed the egg/poo ratio. Sorry that didn’t work out for you; perhaps a goat is a logical next step? 🙂

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