Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Backyard birds - the domestic kind

A friend of mine who lives across the Valley, has a lovely collection of critters - among them several chickens. She went to the local farmers' market and birought home a variety of domestic friends.

This lovely Isobrown chicken is one of  four or five of this breed who fiercely guarded her access to water and food from the ornamentals - the aggressive little Silver Lace Sebrights in the background of this picture. I took it a year ago when I was taking care of the whole "barn yard" for my friend and her husband while they took a vacation. Mini horses, donkeys at one time, goats, chickens and ducks that live up ear the house in winter, but on the pond from break-up till freeze. The chickens fascinated me with their willingness to go outside and their curiosity over anything new.

Keeping chickens in the country is a common enterprise. However, many people in cities are now looking to keep a few chickens for their eggs. It seems to go hand in hand with creating small vegetable gardens in backyards. Some people even rent space in unused gardens to have their own veggies.

As someone who has left the city behind, I applaud all efforts to bring some of the reality of growing food back to city families. It seems to me that helping with or even being responsible for creatures - puppies, kittens, chickens or a garden is a wonderful way for kids to learn about some of the wonder of the earth, the realities of where food really comes from and the difficulties that occur as well.

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