Sunday, January 31, 2016

Change Your Life - Buy A Chicken

I once heard someone say that chickens are a gateway animal. And since then I have from time to time reflected on the fact that they certainly are.
In my experience, most people seeking this "simple life" often start with chickens. Sometimes they are purchased whilst still living in suburbia, and what seemed like a harmless trio of happy layers turns out to be a dangerous rabbit hole to fall down. Dangerous, that is, if you planned to retain your way of living. Exciting, however, if you'd dreamed about something different, a simpler life perhaps, or were discontent with your day to day. Those chickens have the power to potentially change your way of thinking, eating and ultimately, living.

Even if you don't complete the tree change by leaving your town abode, you can still head down the simple living path. As you collect eggs from your new feathered friends, and discover that they have personalities, and even a brain, you'll find you're no longer able to consider buying factory farmed eggs from the shops. Even when your layers decide to take a holiday.
If you can't find a free range pastured alternative you'll find yourself going eggless. Exactly how it should be, I say. This is seasonal eating, appreciating animals for what they are rather than just seeing them as a natural machine for producing food.

We purchased our first chickens nearly a decade ago. Three point-of-lay crossbred pullets, who we named Hilary, Harriet and Caroline. Those three layers where the first step towards this life we live now. I learnt so much about animal care in the first twelve months of owning those three hens. I enjoyed eating eggs for the first time in my life, and had the thrill - for believe me, it is a thrill - of putting our fruit and vegetable scraps into a bucket knowing they would not be wasted, but enjoyed and eventually appear back on my plate in the shape of an egg.
Those three chickens are responsible for where we are now. I grew my first veggies in the soil that they had worked, we hatched our first rooster from eggs of friends under those hens, which led to breeding our own meat. Now here we are, with two dairy cows, a small herd of cows, a flock of sheep and several acres to care for.

I'm still amazed that we are here. As I write this I have a cup of tea by my side and a plate of cheese and crackers. That cheese on my plate is one that I made months ago. Romano, crafted from raw milk from our darling Missy-Moo, and left in the cheese fridge to mature so that it could be enjoyed on an evening such as this. I mean -  we made CHEESE! 
We're also eating our own meat, and planning all these farmy things that a few years ago weren't even in my mind. I've become a gardener, from someone who was really only interested in harvesting I have turned into someone who enjoys the whole process, from seed to sprout to the end product. I've also become a sheep owner. Sheep, an animal I never even considered thinking of until I brought home Rilla 3 and a half years ago. And from an interest in herding has grown my love of sheep.

Those sheep and those chickens are perfect proof that you don't know where your road will lead. But, if you follow that road you'll find out what you're destined for and although there might be a few bumps and even some potholes on the way,  and everything - even the things you don't particularly like - are the way they're supposed to be.
And in the end life will take you exactly where you're meant to go.

So, if you're meant to start down the path to what is commonly referred to as The Good Life, I suggest you start with some chickens.

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PS If you're interested in chickens read my chicken buying guide.
PPS If you'd like to know more about our cheesemaking, check out this, this and this.


  1. Ha! I think you wrote this just for me! Since I dream of having chickens in my yard and in the past few years added sheep and a jersey cow to my list. My husband says if we get animals we are stuck here and won't be able to travel. How do you handle vacations with all your animals?

    1. I'll be completely honest with you - we haven't been on a holiday since we bought those chickens :-)
      I know lots of people that keep animals like we do and they go on holidays, they just go away during the quieter season and get farm sitters they can trust with the running of the place and the animals welfare.
      But I love our animals so much that I would do nothing but stress if I was away from them and wonder if everything was alright. And before we started all of this, we used to holiday in the area we now live in and stay at farm stays and the like. I'm certainly not saying that every day is like a holiday here, but I find a day trip away tends to be all the break I need.
      It is possible to holiday though, you just need farm sitters you can trust. It really just depends on what lifestyle you want to lead :-)

  2. Lovely, thoughtful post Sarah. I agree, chickens are always a great place to start. I cannot even imagine buying eggs these days. Your cheese must be spectacular! Wishing you a happy, farming, growing, making week x

    1. Thank-you Jane! We're lucky to have our chickens, aren't we? :-)

  3. I enjoyed this post. And the gorgeous photos. Something to think about.

    1. Thank-you Amalia and I'm glad you enjoyed it x

  4. My parents are the ones with the farm - I grew up as a farm girl, but now my husband and I live in the city. We depend a lot on my parent's and the produce they provide. We try to get up north and help them out whenever we can. It's a blessing to have a farmer in your life.

    1. That's wonderful that you can get fresh produce from your family x

  5. Having some chickens is on the dream list for me now, but havung almostbgrown up in a house where getting woken up by a rooster was the norm, I am sure this is where i want my road to lead. Lovely post,thank you.

    1. I hope you get those chickens soon, they really are great but you probably already know that :-) So glad you enjoyed my post x


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