Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A bird in the coop is worth an egg in the hand

The latest item to be discussed in West Bloomfield is the raising of chickens.  How many to allow?  What will the coops look like?  Should roosters be allowed?  How many chicks per acre?

I ask you:  Is this really the most pressing issue they have to worry about?  OTOH, maybe they have finally stopped suing each other and are looking for more inane issue to deal with.

I have some experience with raising chickens.  Both my parents and grandparents raised them.  We also had a rabbit hutch and let me tell you that I would rather raise rabbits then chickens.  And yes, I can also tell you that rabbit can taste a lot like chicken.  lol

My reason for preferring to raise rabbits is that they do not peck at you.  Our chicken coop was relatively small compared to my grandparents, who owned a large three acre or more plot (as best I can remember) that they gardened extensively.  (Also why I swore I would never can food when I got my own home.)

I did not mind picking vegetables or apples, but getting eggs was an entirely different issue.  At home, I could enter the coop and shoo the chickens into the outside so that I could collect the eggs.  At my grandparents house, I had to walk through the chicken yard to get to the coop.  Those nasty birds would peck at my feet.  They terrified me.  I was just a child for goodness sake.

The crazy thing was that while growing up I hated eggs.  I did not learn to like them until I was in college.  Now, they are one of my favorite foods.  But alas, due to health reasons, I do not eat a lot of them, even though, as I taught my students years ago, most folks who have high cholesterol are producing it, not eating it. 

So, how would I feel if my neighbors had chickens?  Well, for Mr. Naturalist, who is growing weeds, it might be an improvement.  And I have considered fencing that side of my yard, in which case I would not even see them.  The other side yard is already fenced for the neighbor's pool.  As for crowing roosters, I already have a gazillion birds in my yard making a ton of noise every morning.  And then there are the d--- geese in the park behind me honking.

As to the claim that we would have more coyotes, I say 'Bring 'em on'.  They could show up and kill all the small rodents that are still tearing up the yard.  Except for the baby bunnies of course, though the roaming cats seem to get to them first.  They are so cute running around the garden, I do not even get upset.  Their appetites are negligible compared to the destruction of one deer .   Although, the day I drove in and saw a rabbit sitting on the front mound with a mouthful of pansies was not one of their better moments.

When I moved here in 1972, there was a farm at the corner of Orchard Lake and Walnut Lake.  You could drive by and see sheep grazing.  I thought it was really cool.  Drive down Walnut Lake and you could go to Roy's Ranch.  There was a riding rink on Drake Road.  Down on Maple I could stop on my way home from work and buy fresh vegetables from the farm stand owned by the Bauervic family.

These are all the reasons I moved here.  To get away from the city.  All of the character of West Bloomfield Township as I once knew it is gone.  I say, bring on the chickens.  Just keep it neat.  (and maybe we could allow pet goats that would eat the grass and weeds of the folks who don't maintain their yards.)

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