Commentary

My Chicken Story

A young entrepreneur shares her experience keeping backyard chickens and selling the surplus eggs.

By Aidan Cooper
Published February 08, 2012

I live on a hobby farm just outside the little town of Dundas. Moving from the North End of Hamilton, this was an opportunity to keep and raise animals. To get started with animals, we decided to kick it off with chickens.

Our chickens were about 20 weeks old when we got them. They laid eggs every 3 to 4 days and the eggs were very tiny. But as the chickens got older and matured, the eggs came more frequently and were bigger.

I changed the water every day and fed them. Eventually we graduated from an old drawer and board across the back wall of the coop to a roost and laying boxes. We bought a new watering container and brought in a larger feeding container.

Our 18 hens were laying every 24 hours. We were collecting a dozen eggs a day. My family decided to sell some of our bounty. We did not have a huge business by any means, but we had chickens to greet every morning and to clean up after every 2-3 months.

They gave us and a few others eggs, and in turn we gave them a safe coop to rest in and a shady yard to take dust baths in.

Easy to Take Care Of

Chickens are one of the most easy pets to take care of. Some people think they stink a lot and that can be true, but only if the coop has not been cleaned in the past little while.

Chickens are smart and social birds; they greet you in the morning and are excited to see you at the gate. Chickens can be taught to be held without scratching and can come when called. They put themselves to bed at night so all you have to do is close the door.

I would encourage you to purchase a chicken or two. From my experience, all you need is care.

Aidan Cooper is 12 years old. She lives at home with her Mom and Dad, four brothers, and beloved dog Molly. She is currently homeschooled.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 08:51:33

Sounds great Aidan! It's something that I would love to do in my urban backyard!

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By not urban chickens (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 09:22:36

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 09:40:12 in reply to Comment 73953

Thank you for clearing that up and making a positive comment negative!
I am saying that raising a couple of chickens migh benefit my children the way it has enriched Aidan's experience. Don't make this political

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By Bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 11:33:58

Got to admit after reading this obviously animal loving little girl's story,that having a couple of chickens may be a great experience for growing kids! I've really been against the concept but I'm warming to the idea and really backyard dogs & roaming cats are no better,no worse than a couple of chickens! Maybe we need a two year trial period of allowing them & see if any real problem arises! And,no,it doesn't mean it will lead to goats,sheep & cows in the City,we are only talking about chickens. Nice story Aidan,I believe you may have changed a few other minds besides mine about this issue!

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 15:54:51 in reply to Comment 73977

Well, as I pointed out before, Pot Bellied Pigs are legal & licensed animals in Hamilton. I don't think I've ever read or heard of any problems with them, & they are much bigger, & could be much louder, & potentially smellier than a few chickens.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 21:40:55 in reply to Comment 73977

really backyard dogs & roaming cats are no better,no worse than a couple of chickens!

Actually, this is true, and it's something I hadn't thought of. I would like to purchase a really mean and aggressive chicken and train it to beat up the cats that like to use my backyard as a litter box. If necessary I'll outfit it with those spurs they use for cockfights. My very own battle-chicken...this is something I can get behind.

Also - and I apologize in advance for making a goofy comment even goofier - at some point I was extremely bored and I searched YouTube for "chicken" just randomly, and the first result I got was this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_2_EJogf...

Which is pretty awesome, I'm sure you'll all agree.

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 12:44:43 in reply to Comment 73977

Yeah I agree I wasn't against urban chickens per se, but rather had no opinion on the subject. Now I think I'm becoming more pro-chicken.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:12:10

Cooper? Owning chickens named Cooper. I'm sure youve heard that one about a million times.

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:12:56

Nice story for sure and has changed my mind somewhat about chickens and where they might belong in a quasi urban setting.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 16:00:46

Friend of mine related a story where they took a group of school kids to the African Lion Safari. On the bus ride there the kids were all "We're here, we're here!" and my friend asked how they knew that (thinking maybe they had seen a sign or something, since they were nowhere near the African Lion Safari yet). The answer: I saw cows!

Also, once there, the kids were more interested in watching the chickens than in seeing the exotic animals.

Kids could definitely benefit from seeing chickens and cows and sheep and goats more often (Parents, take them to the County Fair!)

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By farm fan (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 18:22:37 in reply to Comment 74015

Better yet...take them to the a local Farm. I took my kids to an organic farm on HWY5 near Flamborough Downs and the farmer was more than happy to give us a tour. My kids loved it and got a change to experience free range animals.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 20:21:01 in reply to Comment 74036

I'ma go ahead and assume that's Rod and Alvaro's place.

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By Ashleigh Patterson (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 16:05:11

This article is better written than many of the statements made by local politicians regarding chickens. You rock Aiden!

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By Danielle Burgsma (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:30:40

It's a pleasure to read your work again, Aidan! It's great that you're sharing your story and inspiring others! --Mrs. Burgsma

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By bpotstra (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 22:15:59

Thank you for writing this, Aidan! I really hope you keep writing on RTH; you're voice is certainly welcome back any time!

It's a refreshing and insightful read alongside many of the heavy, messy, politically-laced posts on this site. I agree in your approach - a chicken, like all animals - needs to be tended to. If tended properly, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. My guess is that anybody interested in raising their own chickens will tend to them in a responsible manner. If the goal is sustainable, ecological and organic food for ourselves, then this standard of living should certainly be passed on to the animal from which we benefit.

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By not a 'cooper' (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 00:05:13

I can understand the association that could be made, but a few years ago while visiting a heritage village I learned that a 'cooper' was someone who made wooden barrels and similar vessels.

Just thought I would share for any and all concerned.

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 16:53:51

I was also raised on a hobby farm, & really enjoyed reading your article!

We had chickens, & at times ducks, geese, & once & ONLY once, turkeys. (Turkeys are not easy to keep, & are very stupid.)

Many of our fowl came from the railroad station that wasn't open or heated on Sundays. If a shipment of eggs or hatchlings was not claimed near closing time during cold weather, the station master would alert my grandfather to come in after the station was closed to get the doomed babies as unclaimed freight.

My grandmother made makeshift incubators from cardboard boxes, & corrugated cardboard with some light bulbs hanging for heat. (you had to have more than 1 light bulb, or the chicks would smother each other crowding under it in a heap.)

We dug ponds to accommodate the ducks & geese, & filled in the ponds when they had been sold.

Our dog took a keen interest in protecting the birds by night, & watching over them during the day, making sure that they didn't roam far away. His herding instinct from his Mom, a Border Collie worked just as well for birds as for sheep.

We one got a group of Polish chicks. I'm not sure where they were purchased, but they had 'hats' of wild feather on their heads,& blue coloured beaks & feet. The best surprise of all was when they laid beautiful multi-coloured eggs of pale blue or green with rusty speckled. Instant Easter Eggs!

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