Some people relieve stress by deep breathing, going to a spa, or watching
fish swim in an aquarium. My brother says raising chickens is the way to
In March, he purchased six fluffy pullets that arrived in a cardboard box
with holes punched in the top three Rhode Island Reds and three Buff
He wanted only four, so he ordered two extra and that way if feathers
forbid something should happen to a couple, he's still completely and
Naturally, the chickens have acquired names: Scramble, Omelet, Fried,
Boiled, Over Easy and Nuggets. You can't very well relax with chickens if
you can't call them by name.
Because he is one of those guys who, when he sees something he wants done,
just goes ahead and does it, he built the chicken coop himself.
The red and white coop now standing toward the back of his acreage has a
A pop-hole sounds like a place where the chickens might throw back a Pepsi
or Coke, but it is actually a little door that opens to a ramp that leads
to the chicken yard (otherwise known as the rec center).
The coop has nesting boxes, a roost, water dispenser, feeder, the
prerequisite shovel for scooping you know what, and a yard with a hot-wired
fence in case predators, or the dogs, get hungry for a round of chicken
It also has a nifty little door you can open from the outside, reach in and
pluck eggs from the nests.
If you were a chicken, you would give the coop a four-star rating. The only
thing missing is a television in one of those big cabinets with doors that
swing open and a little nightstand with a Bible in the top drawer.
In the evenings my brother, who can get wound a little tight (it runs in
the family) likes to go down and watch the chickens. He says it is so
relaxing it just turns him into (I quote) "a big bowl of Jell-O."
He has tried to involve his boys in the relaxing ways of chickens and they
have, um, declined.
He has tried to involve his wife in poultry relaxation by encouraging her
to walk down to the coop every morning and evening in preparation for when
the chickens may actually lay eggs and she told him well, she also declined.
Sometimes he is so relaxed he gets in the pen with the chickens and, in the
interest of maximizing relaxation, chases them from one side of the pen to
the other. They kick up dust, squawk and beat their scrawny wings. He
snatches one, turns and says, "Here, you want to hold it?"
Apparently, this is the relaxing part, but I am the antithesis of relaxed
at the thought of holding a Rhode Island Red that's trying to peck my hand,
jugular and eyes.
It will be several months before the chickens begin laying eggs. Given his
current investment in materials, the first few eggs will run $41 apiece. A
three-egg omelet could represent $120 in start-up capital.
Some people might find an omelet that expensive makes them feel stressed
and up tight a situation they could easily remedy by raising chickens.