Paris Goodnight: Chicken adventures remain on hold

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

My theoretical quest to start raising chickens took a hit recently when I went to my favorite farm supply store and found that all the chicks they had for sale had already been spoken for, not just for the first round but for the rest of the year.

Seems as if everybody has decided to get into the business with the cost of eggs in the grocery store, so I wasn’t the only one. Of course, I’ve been thinking of doing such for years, if not decades, just to try an activity my grandparents did successfully the whole time I was a youngster.

It wasn’t so much to beat the cost of buying eggs back then, since I’m sure when you factor in the cost of feed, fencing and all the other supplies needed, the cost per egg would be much higher than even those organic ones in the grocery store aisles or regular ones that went up so dramatically over the past year. It was more just for the fun of it.

One of our former photographers raised his own chickens for years, and when I checked in with him to make sure I wasn’t jumping into something I shouldn’t, he gave me the last green light I needed.

But when the word of the supply crunch arrived, I took that as a sign that maybe I should just stick to what I’ve been doing and raise a few tomato plants and leave the flocks to those who know what they’re doing.

I’m not sure how my killer attack doodle doggie would take the idea of new feathered friends taking up part of his backyard stomping grounds either.

But all the chatter of chickens did get me thinking about one other idea that we’ve batted around over the years, that being what we would do with all our cash if we happened to hit that winning lottery ticket and had more money than we knew what to do with. One of the ideas I always tossed out was opening a kill-your-own chicken restaurant. One hitch — among many — to that plot was how much would we charge for the thrill of killing, preparing  and cooking your own bird? No one ever came up with an acceptable price range for it. But I’m convinced it’s one of those things that has merit, not because people are clamoring for it, but because so many people who are my age have never killed anything on their own that they eat. Hunters being the exception of course, but everyone else could maybe point to a fishing adventure when they cleaned and cooked their own catch, but what else?

Many more people of my parents’ and grandparents’ generation raised animals that would end up on a plate at some point, and I’ve heard stories of why that didn’t trickle down. When a pet pig ends up as barbecue, it’s not really fun for the young fellow to feast on it.

We had a home movie of one of the last hogs my grandparents killed and I tried to take that to school for show and tell once when I was of elementary age. Unfortunately, the film snapped, so it didn’t go over as well as I might have imagined. But I don’t know that the youngsters in my class would have wanted to see that up on a screen anyway.

So before I ever get that kill-your-own chicken ranch up and rolling, I think I’ll keep waiting for that winning lottery ticket to come in first since I don’t want to rely on such an idea for my living.

There is at least one more chicken tale that I should mention, but that involves the old thunderchicken and that goes way back, so maybe that will be a story for another day

As for raising chickens in the backyard, I’ve already gotten the call that apparently the tales of the supply shortage were exaggerated and I could put my name down for as many little ones as I’d want. I had to tell the caller that after I’d thought about it a little more, I wasn’t sure that I could pull the trigger, so to speak, on buying some anyway. But I have already purchased the fencing I was going to put up, and I haven’t returned it yet. So maybe this will be the week.

But I could chicken out once again too. We’ll see.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Post.