Backyard chickens are catching on. I had city chickens for a couple of years and they were great. While some say, “that’s crazy,” I say “it’s so awesome!” The benefits of having chickens were plentiful. They are probably one of the most helpful animals for being green and sustainable. Chickens hunt and peck all day long. That means less bugs for your yard. They lay eggs. That means you get fresh organic eggs at no cost to you. Don’t like composting, use your chickens. I threw my kitchen scraps in the run area and they went to town. It’s a little sustainable farm of your very own.
Now this part will probably be a leap for you to believe, but chickens are great pets. Most will say they don’t have personalities, but they would be wrong. I am going to tell you the tale of Gisela, the best chicken a girl could ever wish for. My introduction to city chickens came differently than most. I was producing a short film that needed chicken actors. I was dedicated to making sure we had an Oscar winning chicken performance, and boy did I get what I asked for. I purchased 2 chickens from a feed store and brought them home. I planned on training them both and holding my own private audition. It was very soon I could tell who was going to be the star and who was going to be the extra. This feed store barred rock hen earned herself the role of Gisela in the short film “Chickenfüt.”
She quickly became a crew favorite. Quite the ham for the camera ironically speaking. I had trained her to follow me, to eat out of my hand, and be very comfortable around people. She became a little princess and I became her stage mom. Everyone was so shocked by her want to be around people and “hang out” with everyone. She liked being held and in the action. Even our chicken wrangler was amazed by her little chicken personality.
My plan after filming was to give the chickens to a friend with land, as that should be easy since it was Texas. But after spending this much time with the chickens and growing very attached, there was no way I was giving them up. So they became permanent backyard fixtures. At first they ran free in the backyard. I’m not going to lie, that was not a good idea if you have planters or a garden. They dug up everything and made a mess and then when the sun set they would just plop down wherever they had been. I would go look for them and they would be in the oddest of spots roosting. It was clear they needed a coop. Soon they had their very own chicken condo with a fenced yard and easy access to their roosting quarters. Life was beautiful. However, the fact is, chickens are a target for other animals. In this case, a opossum. I was devastated as you can imagine. Gisela’s memory lives on and she should have won an animal Oscar for sure.
So that’s my chicken story. My personal testimony to a great experience with backyard chickens. Plus I had enough eggs to give to all my friends. If you are interested in seeing Gisela in action you can check out the “Chickenfüt” trailer. Enjoy!
When a German exchange student is possessed by the spirit of his prized chicken named Gisela, he is given the power to fight back, avenging both the murder of his hen and his cruel treatment at the hands of school bullies.
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