|A must-read book about|
our relationship with food.
|Not sure exactly what the message was, |
but this was part of "Chalk It Up"
in downtown Sacramento last week.
Undaunted but uncommitted, I researched the quietest chicken breeds (Black Australorps, apparently) and some covert coops designed to look like garbage cans and herb gardens so nosy neighbors wouldn’t have enough audio visual evidence to turn me into the chicken coppers. I was really into the idea and thought it would be great. Free, nutritious eggs and an ongoing source of manure for the garden? Plus they would make fun pets for my daughter. How awesome would that be?
But I never followed through with it. I told myself it was because I didn’t want to break the law. And now, in my revisionist historian ways, I’m telling myself it was also because of my wife’s debilitating ornithophobia, but we all know my sympathy for that has its limitations. The truth is probably closer to the fact that I don’t want to add taking care of chickens to my list of things to do right now. Not without a good place to keep them. Not with an aggressive shepherd-mix dog that would harass them non-stop. Not with dreams of going on vacation and not wanting to ask my neighbors to water the plants, take in the mail, turn on the porch light, get the dog water, AND feed the darn chickens.
So last week when the City Council finally came to their senses and lifted the backyard ban on chickens I knew that it wasn’t going to change anything for me. I’m really, really thankful that people in my county can now pay just 1% of the former application fee to keep up to three chickens. They have to pay $15 upfront and then $10 for each hen – no roosters allowed! Still, in spite of the drastic reduction, $45 in up front costs for a few chickens, not to mention the cost of the coop and the feed, reduces the economic benefit when a dozen eggs is only $1.89 right now. Even if you consume a dozen eggs a week, half the annual money you'd save by having chickens of your own would be lost due to the fees.
Of course, once those Mad Max scenarios come to pass, those chickens are going to be worth their weight in gold.
*For a really great chicken related blog, check out Scratch and Peck. And do yourself a favor. Start reading from the very first blog entry.