I did not grow up with animals. We had a rabbit who lived outside, but it was for a brief moment of my childhood. Really, animals scared me (let’s just say my three year old self has not forgotten the Doberman who knocked her to the ground). My parents were not fond of animals in the home and we never asked for one. Any experience of planning, purchasing, raising, caring for animals was nonexistent before my marriage. Being that my husband grew up in a family of animals lovers, I knew that one day we may have a dog . Somehow, we ended up with four dogs as the animal lover gene is strong in my four children! If you had told me a year ago that I would have added to our brood four goats, two pigs, and 16 chickens, I would have panicked.
I really think that it all started with eggs. One day at work, I received an email from a co-worker that he was selling farm fresh eggs for $4 a dozen. I was paying more than that for organic, cage free eggs at the grocery store. Being that this was local and fresh, I decided to purchase a dozen and try them out. Once my family tasted these eggs, we would not turn back. The eggs were beautiful, too. I loved opening up the carton to see so many sizes and colors. Every time I picked up my eggs, I would hear about his family’s desire to minimize, get out of debt, grow their own food, and live off the land.
Bringing home these eggs and showing them to my family started our own conversations. How did we not know that there were blue eggs? How many chickens does he have? Friends of our children had chickens in their backyards, so could we do the same? Absolutely not. I did not want to add one more thing to my plate. Besides, our neighborhood covenants probably did not allow for it. That quietly ended it. For now.
Fast forward to moving to our home on six acres. There were no covenants now! After a few months and many youtube videos later, I started to seriously consider raising hens. I could continue to buy eggs from my co-worker, but there was something else there that I craved. Maybe it was hearing about how the chickens tended his land and ate bad bugs! Perhaps, it was the romanticized idea of the perfect basket of colorful eggs that I could collect. Every day there was an echo of others that inspired me. This was not about just knowing where our food comes from. It was not about having eggs. This was the beginning of a lifestyle change that I needed.