I live in Portland, Oregon, where everyone in this town plays the “I’m more sustainable than you” game.
Let me set the scene:
Person A: I brought my own reusable grocery bag to the grocery store.
Person B: Me too, I do that all the time, and if I forget, I just carry all 28 items in my hands.
Person C: I’m more sustainable than both of you because I hardly ever have to go to the grocery store, I just grow all my own stuff. Also I have chickens.
Person B: Oh, really? I’ve thought about getting my own chickens, too. They’re so cute! And you get so many eggs!
Person A (me): So, guys, I’ve done the math on chickens. And here’s the deal. Let’s say I buy the best eggs at the farmers market, and let’s say those cost $9 a dozen. They don’t, but let’s just say they do. So, let’s say I eat a dozen eggs a week, minus the two weeks I’m on vacation. That’s $450 a year. That’s the price I will happily pay to keep from having chickens peck my legs.
Persons B and C: We disagree, so we’ll keep chickens. The cost to build a henhouse gets recovered in one year and we have years and years of chickens remaining to lay eggs so we’ll just keep doing that, and the chickens add to our emotional well-being.
Person A: Hey! If you ever have too many eggs, I’ll pay $9 a dozen.
Everyone is happy.
And Kathleen doesn’t end up with chickens.
The moral of this story is, only keep chickens if you love chickens. Otherwise, buy the dang eggs!
Update: right after I wrote this post, one of the chickens I was petsitting went missing. So, I ran around in the twilight with a flashlight, calling “brown chicken, here brown chicken, where are you brown chicken?” and when I woke up the next morning, that dang chicken was in the henhouse. So, brown chicken looked like shadow, and was just sitting there, sleeping, when I thought it was lost. It was mildly funny (only because I didn’t actually have to explain to the girls I was housesitting for that I lost a chicken!) and one of the dogs thought that the flashlight I was carrying around was an enemy that needed to be barked at and consumed.