Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chickens in My Life

I recently finished The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and I thought it was fantastic.  It wasn't a nail biter or anything, and I definitely had to put it down for a few days at a time, but it really made me think.  I've spent the last few weeks months talking about it with friends and family and I just can't seem to get it out of my mind.  But the biggest thing that this book has convinced me is this:

I want chickens.

Now, I live in a city and my garden is just a bunch of pots in front of my parking spot, so I know this isn't something I can really make happen right now.  But let's just say, it's definitely on the five year plan.

This may seem like a weird thing to want, but how cool would it be to have fresh eggs everyday? I'm also super fascinated with composting, and chicken poop is a good source of nitrogen.  (Our family friends with a fantastic garden and an impressive compost system recently got chickens and the wife admitted to me, "I think Larry only wants them for the poop!")  Plus, it would be another fun pet, right?  So now I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of getting chickens.

How did a book get me on this new kick of mine?  Well, one of the farms that Pollan visits is called Polyface Farm and is run by Joel Salatin.  Salatin runs his farm so that the animals are moved around daily to keep the land, animals, and us healthy.  The farm's website explains, "We are in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture."  But my favorite part?  The eggmobile!  

From an article in Bloomberg Businessweek:
When cattle are moved off a segment of pasture, designated groups of egg-laying chickens are moved in, via “the eggmobile.” These chickens feed partly off cattle manure, and since they physically can't host bovine pathogens, they assume the role of “a biological pasture sanitation system,” says Salatin. Of all his contraptions, he is proudest of the eggmobile, which he invented 20 years ago.  
So cool! (and smart!)

In my head, I see myself getting a few chickens and having them do some weeding around my yard, then using their poop for my compost.  My own mini circle of life!

Anyway, Pollan explored some deeper questions that fascinated me as well:  Buying organic- is it a good idea or not?  To be, or not be (a vegetarian)?  And lastly, what are we supposed to eat with so many options out there these days?!

I'm hoping to cover my thoughts on these questions in some coming posts, but for now, I'll leave you with a picture of the eggs I picked up at the farmers' market this weekend.  Who wouldn't want to eat beautiful eggs like these every morning and know that they came from happy chickens?

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