After saying goodbye to the hustle and bustle of city life, retirement ushered me into the quiet embrace of the countryside. I was drawn to books on homesteading and life off the land by fantasies of sustainable farming and a self-sufficient lifestyle. I ached for the delight of living close to the ground as I admired others who flourished on their agricultural activities.

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The appeal of sustainable methods beckoned to me as I moved into my new rural house. Raising hens, a traditional aspect of agricultural life, piqued my interest. I felt a strange mix of enthusiasm and curiosity, guided by nostalgic memories of my mother’s chicken-raising endeavours as a child.

I pondered how difficult it may be to keep a few chickens and reap the benefits of fresh eggs.

Putting Down Roots: The Start of a Country Adventure

I began a new chapter in my life by purchasing a little plot of property near my hometown. I took on the challenge of building my own house after reading a book about it. After all, how tough could it really be to build a house from the ground up?

Why do you prefer chickens? A Search for Friendship and Fresh Eggs:

As my voyage towards country living progressed, the idea of rearing hens began to enter my mind. I considered chickens as the ideal companions for a rural excursion since I was eager to participate in a lifestyle I had long admired.

  1. Companionship: Because my life was so full of travel, I didn’t have regular pets. Raising chickens would offer me with a unique type of friendship while also strengthening my connection to the land.
  2. Fresh Eggs: After savouring the delicious flavour of free-range chicken eggs, the possibility of enjoying delicacies from my own backyard was alluring.
  3. Grandparent Experience: With four energetic granddaughters, I imagined delightful encounters as they fed the chickens and collected eggs, developing a link with the natural world.

The First Venture: A Promising Beginning

I began my chicken-raising adventure with passion and commitment. My adventure started off after I purchased a portable chicken coop from a nearby Mennonite farmer and other necessary items. As the coop settled into its new location, I imagined a fruitful journey into egg production.

Lessons on Resilience: A Story of Success and Failure

  • The Exciting Beginning: Welcoming four pullets into our coop, each named after a beloved granddaughter, signaled the start of our chicken-raising experience. We kept a close eye on our hens as they returned to their coop at dusk, assuring their safety.
  • Our initial success was broken by the unexpected emergence of bloodied feathers and the disappearance of our hens. The discovery of a predator’s entry made us motivated to improve coop security. 
  • Raccoon Invasion: Our second attempt at keeping a flock was plagued by raccoon invasions. The heartbreaking discovery of our chicks being stolen by these cunning burglars taught us the value of tight coop closures.

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The Road to Mastery: Lessons Learned

  • Caution: Our first lesson was clear: never underestimate the need of maintaining coop closure at dark. A single blunder might have disastrous effects.
  • The second lesson was that even meticulous closure isn’t enough to fortify defence. To safeguard our feathered friends from determined predators, a well-secured coop is vital.

A Future of Opportunities

Despite some disappointments, my first foray into chicken raising was a worthwhile experience. The perseverance, tolerance, and adaptation required to care for these animals enriched my rural experience. While I may have put my chicken-raising ambitions on hold for the time being, the lessons learnt have laid the groundwork for a future comeback to this endeavour.

As I continue to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of country living, the potential of rearing hens remains an exciting chapter that has yet to be completed.

Conclusion: Farming and Life Lessons

The decision to keep chickens is more than just a desire for fresh eggs; it represents a path of discovery, resilience, and connection to the land. Through the ups and downs of my chicken-raising experience, I’ve learned the value of vigilant vigilance and fortifying defences against unanticipated difficulties. While my immediate endeavour may have taken a break, the idea of future chicken-raising ventures is a light of hope on my route to country living.