Friday, December 5, 2008

Food Storage Thoughts: Eggs and Fowl

When I think about food storage, more than just cans, lined up on the shelves, fill my mind.

My main concern is renewability.

Cans of food and bottles of treated water are great for the short term, however, there has to be an understanding that they are, by nature, short-sighted.

In my opinion, food storage is also about knowing how to feed ourselves in the long-term, in case of disaster.

I could ramble on and on about that whole idea for hours, but, today, I'll try to keep myself specific.

I'm not sure how many people know that it is legal, in most areas, to have chickens in their suburban backyards. Each state and city has their own Chapters and Ordinences about what is permitted, but, for example, here it is permitted to have up to 24 fowl in a suburban backyard, permitting, of course, that they are cleaned up after.

And, of course, provided none are male. Roosters, specifically, are forbidden. Anyone who has woken up at three in the morning because their rooster is too stupid to tell time can understand why.

I should mention that Home Owner's Associations have the right to forbid their areas from owning fowl, just as they can dictate level of grass, etc. So, check out your HOA guidelines before taking me up on this.

From the food-storage point of view, chickens are a wise investment. Think: eggs, meat, and renewability.

Of course, roosters are forbidden, which makes one aspect of renewability challenging, but, in case of emergency, there is always access to... contraband roosters.

(I should note that I have included two incubators in our food storage-- so fertile eggs from anyone can mean more chicks.)

Chickens pay for themselves pretty quickly-- even with the costs of food and the initial expense-- whether you order from a hatchery, or if you hatch them yourselves. My mother in law has eight chickens. Only four are laying right now (three others are babies and one is... gulp... um... yeah, you guessed it.)  My MIL gets, from four laying hens, four eggs a day.  28 eggs a week.

My MIL gives the chickens their normal feed (from WALMART :)) as well as letting them run around and scratch in her whole yard every day. She throws food scraps to them-- weeds from her garden, veggies that have gone off in the fridge, and, this summer, over-ripe pomegranites.

In return she gets large, brown, fantastic-tasting eggs.

Right now those four eggs a day provide enough eggs for three households-- hers, mine, and my sister in law's.

Blue, the... non-hen... is destined for the pot... I think. He's one of the least intelligent creatures on the planet. I've met roosters that aren't stupid-- but he really takes the cake. Good thing he's beautiful :).

My MIL uses the chicken litter for under her citrus trees, so they go into nourishing her plants, as well.

I was just thinking that, even two chickens can make a huge difference in a household. Eggs are expensive. The ones from the supermarket are usually at least a month old and have been shipped from all over, costing who knows how much gas and wasting precious resources.

And, I like to use this as an opportunity to get involved with all my heritage and heirloom livestock.

Here's a great list of endangered/at risk chicken breeds:

1 comment:

MandaMommy said...

I SO wish! This is the thing I look forward to the most when we're done at Stanford (maybe later, but I'll be optimistic...) We go through something like 2-3 dozen eggs per week around here. We could really use some hens!