Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Chicken Goal

Image by Marji Beach on Flickr,
Creative Commons licensed.
"When I retire, I want to raise egg-laying chickens."

That's one of my new goals. 

In my day job at PC Magazine, I write a weekly column about organization and productivity called Get Organized. The newest column is about the importance of setting goals and actually writing them down. To work in a technology angle, the column discusses apps and tools you can use to stay on top of your goals and really plan to achieve them.

One of my favorite aspects of this column is I typically write about things that I either have been meaning to do, or things I already do. Writing down goals was one I've been meaning to do. It's been a few years since I last did it in earnest, with real attention to the difference between "goals" and "objectives." Goals are visionary. They are usually longer term ideas of yourself or your business, rather than specific mile-markers along the journey (those are objectives). But like objectives, goals usually should have some element of specificity in them, like a rough date for when you'd like to accomplish them. 

So that's how raising egg-laying hens in retirement came about.

Every so often, I mention to Boyfriend that I want to raise hens, but I know that in our current lifestyle, it's impossible. We live in New York city in an apartment with no private yard space. We're busy people. And while some urban dwellers are managing to keep three or four small hens in their tiny gardens, I can't imagine the fights they have with their neighbors. A lot of cities have laws about keeping "commercial" animals, and chicken-raising folks have to fight back and call their hens domestic pets."

This morning, I've started looking for small egg producing farms in the New York and New Jersey area. My plan is to write to a few of them and ask if they can take a working volunteer for a few non-consecutive days sometime in the next year so that I can start learning about what it takes to raise hens before I actually try it myself. I'd rather learn about raising hens slowly, little by little, over a number of years than buy a couple of hens without knowing what I'm doing thirty years from now. Learning now also gives me the opportunity to change my mind. I'll have a better idea what I'm in for.


Kristen Himelein said...

As a former Peace Corps volunteer from Huntington, NY who moved to Burkina Faso from Astoria, Queens - I think you are over-estimating the process. I got chickens without trying - and as long as it was the right season (sufficient water) and the neighbor's cats/kids didn't kill them - I ended up with eggs.

jennifer said...

yeah, i've known lots of people who've kept urban/suburban chickens. there really isn't much to it. i'm thinking in my retirement, i'll have my mom's house in ct. i'm planning for a huge garden & chickens too. i may even wrangle a small greenhouse. and solar panels!

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