This is as close to an idyllic country photo as I could get. Chickens and dog. I should start by saying that I have loved raising chickens, even though I am not a fan of eating eggs. But during the winter I started thinking about raising meat birds for our families. We have been raising the layers in the best way that I know - free ranging, healthy food to supplement what they get on their own, protection from the local predators, exciting treats daily. Our layers act like they have a great life - scratching in the gardens, dust bathing in the driveway, hunting for bugs. We sell the eggs, and people swear that our hens lay awesome eggs. So it occurred to me that I could give meat birds the same chance at a good life. If the people I care about are going to eat chicken, then they should eat chicken that had had the opportunity to live well. Which means NOT living in a cage, indoors, crammed together. Which means getting to be outside and eating bugs and scratching. I should mention that I am a vegetarian. So I had to really think about whether I had the inner strength to raise birds that would eventually be slaughtered. It surprised me to discover that I was actually OK with it. People are going to eat meat no matter what. And they are going to buy it. Better that they have access to chickens that have been raised in a healthy, conscious way as opposed to only meat raised in an industrial setting. Better that they understand where their meat comes from. And so the vegetarian becomes a small-time meat farmer.
A sheep farmer meets an urban gardener. Fleece ensues.
The Reading List
*Animal, Vegetable, Miracle