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Are You Thinking of Getting Backyard Chickens?

Yesterday, I was in Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things and the egg shelves were bare. I’ve heard a handful of reasons why we are short on eggs in our country. The Trader Joe’s cashier blamed Covid. I’ve blamed Covid for many things too, but no eggs?

Google told me that it was a combination of the avian flu and that chicken farms can’t afford to employ workers with the newly mandated increase in minimum wages. This egg shortage reminds me of 23 years ago we were entering the new millennium, the year 2000.

We anticipated all kinds of havoc in the food supply chain. My young family filled a few plastic barrels with water and food staples. We also purchased a brown paper bag full of live chicks and one turkey. My four kids were thrilled.

We built a chicken coop and painted it French blue. I wanted it to blend well next to the pool. The little chicks grew rapidly and we soon discovered we had three hens and one rooster. My kids named them, Queen Esther, Ruth, Chicken Little, and Mr. White. The super fast-growing turkey was sent to live with our friends that had property in the mountains. Turkeys poop ginormously.

These new members of our city homestead were toted around like beloved toys. My daughter learned to hypnotize Queen Esther; hypnotizing chickens is a real thing. The hens began to lay eggs, each had a beautiful hue, blue, brown, and white. It is the breed of chicken that determines the color of the egg.

The problem came with Mr. White finding his morning voice. Sunrise crowing is for rural living and this young chicken was getting louder every day. Our cottage Y-2 chicken industry in the middle of the city needed to expand. Living off the land, our backyard, was getting serious.

Late in the afternoon, my husband Ron set up the barbeque area with a large cutting board. Mr. White would not be crowing the following morning. The kids were around the corner in the garden yelling Dad, please don’t kill Mr. White. Honestly, I was more concerned about what the neighbors thought we were doing than saving Mr. White.

We discovered that our grandmas were tough ladies if they could wring the neck of their chicken with one go. Ron struggled, and I went inside unable to witness the execution. Naming chickens for harvesting meat is not a good thing to do. Homesteading requires new skills that I was not so sure I wanted to acquire.

The event was taking some time so I gathered up the kids and we went out to pick up dinner. The cashier asked my young daughter what kind of tacos she would like. She softly answered, “beef, please.”

Now with the current egg shortage or is it a chicken shortage, I ponder the days with little ones and how we prepared for a disaster that never happened. We have not been to the feed store to acquire a new bag of chicks. It would not be the same with our kids grown and flown. Ron asks me if I bought eggs and I smiled at him, “No eggs or chickens.” We sat down and talked about our long-ago chickens, our kids, and sweet memories.

This story is one of many I write about in my upcoming book, The Invisible Journey, Leaving Manna for the Land of Abundance. The nonfiction book uses real-life stories to inspire readers to live the life they have dreamed of and step out in faith when things are not working. Subscribe below to get book launch dates and more.

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