We are keeping backyard chickens. It is rewarding in a way I never expected: watching them scratch and peck at the dirt, hunt for bugs, and flap their wings in a display of fancified bird language that probably evolved from the dinosaurs, has provided a form of pandemic Zen for our whole family.

It was rough at first. We were not entirely prepared for the whole keeping-farm-animals-at-home-while-working-and-schooling thing. This escapade started out with some close calls, harrowing saves, and one dead baby chick. We are the proud owners of a chicken graveyard, and while that may sound callous, it turns out farmers have to be tough. Nature is unforgiving. Perhaps these are the lessons a nine-year-old who has not set foot in a classroom for more than year has to learn.

The eggs are beautiful, from shades of pink to brown, and finding them feels like a daily treasure hunt. A gift from these beautiful birds that is so rewarding! The efforts to safeguard our little flock against the foxes THAT LIVE IN OUR YARD has been nothing short of well-executed military strategy involving a lot of random materials from Community Forklift. We chip the invasive bamboo and line the chicken run with it, which provides a fresh bed of grass-mulch for the hens, and helps tamp down the smell. Be prepared for poop. Lots of it. Chickens poop a lot. Seriously. It’s pretty unbelievable.

There are zoning regulations on chicken keeping in Prince George’s County. You can find out more information here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/prince-georges-county-maryland-chicken-ordinance.61780/


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