The Egg and I

You can add this to the many statements that I never imagined I would make.

I am a chicken person.

What I mean, of course, is that I am a big fan of chickens. The animal, more than the meat they provide, although I appreciate that, too.

I enjoy chickens. I love watching them peck around my backyard. I love how frantic they get when a I throw them corn. I love the way that they run across the yard when they see me, like little Velociraptors. I love the way they squat to get petted.

I love them as babies, too. I love their soft, down-covered bellies. I love their cartoonish cheeps. We have four chicks right now. They’re almost three weeks old. Our kids get to name most of the chickens, as it inspires them to care for them.  For the first time recently, I picked my own chicken and named it.  I call her Attila the Hen.

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Jill, Attila, American Chicken and Super Chicken

These four chicks will double our flock, bringing them it to eight hens in total, providing we don’t have any surprise roosters.  Roosters are not legal within the city limits.  To the surprise of many, a family can have up to ten hens in the city of Las Vegas.  Laws about keeping a backyard flock of chickens are relaxing, as it becomes a more popular hobby, across the U.S.  

People don’t realize that yards in Las Vegas aren’t all swimming pools and concrete.  I am not alone in keeping chickens here, in fact, in many established Las Vegas neighborhoods, if you listen, you can hear a rooster in the morning, laws be damned.

I started this journey, although I didn’t realize it at the time, when my oldest was just a toddler, and my daughter was still a baby.  We decided to buy our first house and we wanted a big yard.  The rental we lived in at the time barely had a patio and we wanted our kids to have space to play outside.  We ended up in a small house on 7,000 square feet of land.  That doesn’t sound like much to many Americans but in the mind of most Las Vegans, that is practically an acreage.

MAevy and chickens
Just a city girl and her flock.

When my oldest son turned three, we had a petting zoo come to the house for his birthday.  Seeing all those goats and chickens running around my backyard gave me ideas.  I wanted desperately for my kids to connect with nature but that’s challenging in a large city.  We went to the park, we went to the mountains for hikes when we could but it wasn’t enough.  It was surprisingly easy to convince my husband to go along with the idea of keeping chickens.  We ordered a small coop online, assembled it and went to the closest feed store to pick up chicks.  That was five years ago.  My kids no longer remember a time when we didn’t have chickens.

When we moved to our new house, there was already a structure in the back that resembled a coop so we added roosting bars, mesh doors and a ramp and now our chickens have more room than they know what to do with and the babies get the tiny coop we started with.  Our hens spend most of their time free-ranging in among the weeds.  They make compost for my garden, which was kind of pathetic before having chickens.  They till the garden soil for me between seasons.  They eat all the bugs in our yard and a lot of the food scraps that would overload our compost.  They make me happy.  The biggest benefit to having chickens though is the eggs.

We get so many eggs.  We select breeds that are good layers but not so prolific that they can’t sustain a normal life.  I don’t butcher my chickens when they stop laying because I can afford that luxury.  A benefit to having a backyard flock, instead of operating a farm is that I’m not trying to make a living through these chickens.  They are more farm animal to me than pet but as a reward for a lifetime of laying eggs and bringing me joy, I let them live out their days with the rest of the flock.  My hens are healthy, happy and well loved.  My dear friend Christina loves to tell people that if she is ever reincarnated, she wants to come back as a Krikorian chicken.

eastereggs
Our eggs normally come in green and brown.  They turn much richer colors than white eggs, when we dye them on Easter.

We get about one egg a day, per chicken.  Currently, we get four eggs a day, which even for a family of five adds up.  We give eggs as gifts, I serve them en masse at G Street to our hungry friends, on occasion I sell them but mostly, we just eat a lot of eggs.  We have eggs for breakfast, even on some weekdays.  My kids love quiche and hard boiled eggs, which is lucky for me.  My oldest son even requests eggs on his burgers sometimes.  “Breakfast” foods are not a thing in our house.  My youngest is eating a ham, egg and cheese burrito for lunch as I type this.  I host Easter every year for my extended family and even for an Easter brunch, eggs are plentiful.

With a surplus of eggs in mind, I am sharing with you a very simple recipe for oven scrambled eggs.  It is great for a large brunch but just as great to serve to the hungry on G Street.  With so much protein and flavor, I can’t serve eggs fast enough in the chow line.

Find the recipe here.  Oven Scrambled Eggs

 

 

 

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