On Raising Chickens

Susan Pagani

One spring, a friend purchased a $2 carton of fertilized eggs at the farmers’ market and stuck them under a borrowed incubator. Twenty-one days later, the resulting clutch threatened to overwhelm her modest backyard coop, and so she farmed the chicks out to adoptive parents. I presented two of those pullets, Hazel and Lydia, to my husband for our second anniversary.

At the time, it felt terribly romantic. On one of our early dates, William had used the butcher paper covering a cafe table to draw me an elaborate plan for the kitchen garden he hoped to one day build. In addition to vegetables and fruit trees, it included an ingenious chicken hutch. Since then, we’d relocated to San Antonio, Texas, and it seemed like we’d be missing out on part of the experience if we didn’t keep some kind of livestock in the yard. Chickens would be charming pets…

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