Tuesday, August 18, 2009


When I first started researching the idea of keeping chickens as pets, everything I gathered indicated that chickens will eat just about anything, the exception being raw potatoes. I assumed that the chickens and the dog would be able to share in leftovers and the chickens would benefit from the items that normally are dumped in the compost pile (affectionately referred to as "the landfill"). Chardonnay the dog continues to eat most everything in front of her, but the chickens are actually picky.

I chopped up some overly-ripe strawberries the other day to serve our little pullets and cockerel. They came to me expectedly, looking for the handout my presence is associated with. I tossed the berries on the grass and got "the look". Since birds' eyes are on either side of their heads, they have to turn their head to look directly at something. In this case, one eye on the strawberry and the other on me. It was clearly a "What the Cluck?" expression as in "you expect me to eat that?"

My chickens don't like strawberries or tomatoes or several other things you'd think they would like. Their favorite menu items are pasta and eggs. The eggs can be boiled, fried, scrambled, whatever. My birds are into recycling apparently. They do love seafood. I'm sure they would eat chicken too, but we're not even going to try it….it just seems wrong.

I haven't eaten red meat or pork since 1984. Blame the research I did for an argumentative speech at Ithaca College on laboratory animals. When you discover the truth behind scientific research practices on lab animals, you also learn about factory farming. I swore off all meat except for seafood. I ate turkey only on Thanksgiving and Christmas day for several years as my one cheat. I finally added poultry back into my diet when my first child started eating table food, mainly to make it easier to feed him. Now that I have chickens, I still eat poultry, but with more misgivings. Soon after we moved the chicks outside into their coop, Jay and I were out there watching them. He asked that loaded question, "What's for dinner?" This was one of the few times I'd actually given some thought to dinner preparation, but I felt self-conscience about saying it out loud, in front of my new pets. So I spelled it, "C-H-I-C-K-E-N".


  1. I'm sure they would eat chicken too, but we're not even going to try it….it just seems wrong.

    And feeding them eggs is somehow different from this? Have the chickens taken care of the bugs in the yard?

  2. The eggs are fertilized so it's not like the chickens are eating viable chicken embryos.

    And yes, the bugs run in fear now. I do wish they could do a better job with the mosquitos however.

  3. No one can make me laugh like you Sharona! Your blog is such a hoot!