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Chickens are hilarious.  They eat nearly everything, dig around constantly, have an Invincible attitude, and make free food.  They're the perfect farm animal and pet!

I  would say chickens are medium-easy to raise and care for.  We've had chickens since 2015, and for the first few seasons they enjoyed free ranging around the yard.  They gobbled up bugs, helped mow the grass, ripped up big holes in search of dust to bathe in, and played "chicken football" with snacks we threw to them.  They also were getting eaten by just about everything: coyotes, foxes, wolves, hawks, neighbor dogs, and occasionally a skunk would try to get in on the action.  We always figured that if we lost a chicken or two to predators in a season, that was the price they all paid for having as great of a chicken life as you possibly could offer.

Until the weasels and fishers arrived.  Three times our flock has been 100% destroyed by these bloodthirsty demons, all for a lap of blood.  Talk about a kick in the chicken teeth.  To combat the weasels, growing hawk threat, and coyotes that had learned where the larder was, we had to fence in a run outside of our chicken coop and harden our defenses to keep out all hungry wildlife.  This outdoor run worked until fishers figured out how to get inside... Now it's an impregnable fortress. The chickens honestly don't know they're cooped up compared to prior generations because their concept of freedom is not quite there (not to mention there being no written chicken lore), but to me it feels a little like a zoo. I throw them a few handfuls of "greeny-greens" (grass) every day so they can get a taste for what they're missing.  It's the best part of every chicken's day.

Chickens with attitude

Our chickens are also lucky enough to get delicious leftovers from Rodeo Mexican Kitchen.  It dawned on me while getting my weekly burrito there that they must generate quite a bit of veggie waste preparing salads, salsas, and other delights.  A couple of full litter buckets a week, in fact!  Nearly all of it is prime chicken food, with the exception of onion husks which are nobody's favorite.  Tomatillos, roasted pepper innards, moldy tomatoes, and the end of the day's salad greens all help keep our chickens happy and healthy.  Plus, it's less food that I gotta feed 'em, not to mention tastier eggs.  And as if those benefits weren't great enough to justify scavenging veggie waste like a New York City rat colony, I also am helping to keep thousands of pounds of food waste out of the landfill every year.  Who knew raising chickens could help save the planet!

Most chickens have generic names: "Oh hello brown one! Looking good today fluffy neck. How's chicken mama with a hat doing?"  If I give them actual names, people start asking how they are individually which gets a little too personal for me.  By referring to them as the greater "chickens" nomenclature, if one dies the overall "chickens" are still doing alright.  Only roosters get names in our flocks, because they're badasses who stand alone.  King Tut, Booster, and Swagga all have legendary tales of their strength and bravery.  All have fallen defending the flock, with Swagga being the only one to successfully keep his hens safe from a vicious predator in the process. 

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