For my birthday, Rachel bought me two female chickens: Rhianna (right) and Adele (left). She got them in the market from a Pulaar man who brought them from his village to sell as food. For now, they have a three month reprieve while they live with us. When I leave I will give them to my closest friends here and hope they can join their flock.
She also got this great chicken coop in built. It doesn’t have a bottom, so we can move it to different places in the yard when it starts to get dirty. We’ve covered the back area to provide them with a dark space to make them feel safe (this is where we put their nesting boxes).
Since reading Farm City (an amazing book) I have been yearning to raise chickens, and I’m so excited to finally have the chance! I don’t know much about it at all, but after talking to friends and advice from the internet, I am slowly finding my way. Our first week with the chickens we kept them in the coop to teach them where their new home is. Now, I let them out every afternoon (or all day if I’m home) and let them forage for bugs. It is very peaceful to watch them scratch, fly, and cluck all day long. Getting them in at night was quite difficult at first (we have some scratches from the barbed wire fence), but becomes easier each time we do it.
Although these ladies are able to forage for their food, I want to provide them with the best nutrition possible. I can’t buy commercial chicken feed where I live, so I’ve made up a concoction that I put in their house in the morning and evenings. I’ve been told if I burn old bones (fish bones for example) and pound them into a powder I could add it to this feed and they would be getting all the nutrients they need. I have yet to try this, but hopefully will in the coming weeks. In the meantime I am throwing them lots of kitchen scraps (carrot peels are their favorite), and treats (popcorn and watermelon), in addition to this “chicken feed” (see below).
1 kilo millet
1 kilo corn (slightly crushed)
1 kilo (sorghum- I’m thinking of taking this out bc they don’t seem to like it)
1/2 kilo ground peanuts
Combine in bucket – will last about 1 week.
Chickens are great fun and I hope you consider having some too! Just make sure you are getting them from a good place. In the U.S. buying chicks commercially can support some awful practices thus I recommend trying to get them from a friend or farm sanctuary. Also make sure you will have enough space for them to be happy and preferably a place to let them roam. Finally think about any animal friends that might become predators — my dog is definitely trying to eat the chickens but we are working through it.
If you have any experience with chicken raising please leave some advice in the comments!
Note: If these hens lay eggs I intend to eat the eggs however I will not post those recipes on this blog because I would like this to be a strictly vegan space. I believe in eating in the most moral way possible in any situation you encounter. In this situation I believe these eggs make that cut.
I do not in any way endorse eating eggs from places where you don’t know or aren’t satisfied with 1. how the hens our treated 2. where the hens come from or 3. what happens to the hens when they are “done laying”.
We do not need to eat eggs, but if we do want to eat them let us only do so in a way that respects the animals, the planet, and ourselves.