While we wait for our baby alpacas, Julia and I are tending to a flock of chicks. Our brooder is a hot pink plastic kiddie pool and it's in our garage. A heat lamp hangs from the rafters and a frame with plastic hardware cloth, placed over the pool, keeps the chicks in and the cats out. The day that the chickens arrived (5 layers, 15 broilers, and 1 free exotic), I went to a local feed store to get starter grain. I brought home 5 unsold buff orpingtons because I couldn't bare to leave them there. When I arrived home, Julia told me: "Mom, you will never be a crazy cat lady when you get old. You'll be a crazy chicken lady." I'm down with that.
You may call me a crazy chicken lady, but with egg prices as high as they are due to the chicken deaths related to a bird flu epidemic in the mid-west, raising a home flock isn't really all that daft. The chickens eat scraps of food, devour grubs, and provide eggs that are tastey and pretty. And, I'm surprisingly fond of the sound of the roster crowing, even if he does so at strange times, unrelated to the sunrise.