Apr 10, 2018

Once Upon a Flock

Life with My Soulful Chickens
by Lauren Scheuer

I've been wanting to have backyard chickens, but my city rules don't allow. Next best thing is reading about others who keep them! This author needed something extra going on in her yard after her kids were grown and out of the house; she acquired three hens to add life to her garden. Her story tells all about the learning moments, the amusing incidents, the surprises in keeping chickens. From tiny little fluffy things to gangly adolescents to egg-laying mamas. Well, one wanted to be a mama. She deliberately didn't have a rooster, so when one of her hens turned broody, adopted a few chicks for it to raise. And saw a whole new world of behavior open up, how the hen communicated with and taught the chick, protected it, tended to it constantly. I thought it would mostly be a cute story- the illustrations sure are (and oddly superimposed over real photos used as backgrounds) but in actuality it's a touching story as well. Keeping three hens content turned out to be quite a balancing act- her frequent need to build new shelters, extra coops and cages to keep one hen from bullying another, or to give a sick hen safe place to hang around outside, reminded me of the shuffling I've sometimes had to do in order to keep my various fish species well. Her efforts to make her terrier dog understand the chickens were not prey finally worked out when the dog became their protector. She also saw acts of compassion between the hens- as well as inexplicable viciousness. She worked through their various illnesses, had to deal with a rooster when one of her adopted chicks turned out to be male (her solution to the rooster's crowing was absolutely brilliant) and swamped her neighbors with eggs. It's mostly delightful.

I still want chickens someday, ha. I think I'd appreciate them most for the insect control.

Borrowed from the public library

Rating: 3/5             243 pages, 2013

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