Falling In Love With A Hen

Early 2010, I had the life altering experience of watching the Natural History of the Chicken. This PBS documentary took you on a journey through chicken as pets and their strange caretakers. Think: chickens in diapers so they don’t soil their outfits and the life of a headless chicken. Yes, it was life altering in less than an hour (you can view on YouTube) .

I found myself fascinated by the idea of keeping chickens in the backyard of the Brooklyn brownstone apartment that I shared with roommates. As the though of fresh eggs danced through my head I sought out information on how other chicken enthusiasts made this a reality. This led me to a class at the Brooklyn Kitchen on Urban Chicken Keeping. This class was led by Bee from BK Farmyards.

I eyed the hen that she brought into the workshop wondering if we would get a chance to pet her. I took meticulous notes on the possibilities of keeping my own small flock in the city. Bee closed out the class and gave folks an opportunity to hold the hen. I kept myself to the back of the line because I was a little terrified (have you seen their claws?). I finally got up the courage to hold her and I was shocked by how quickly she and I both calmed down. She was soft and made little noises and something in me fell into place. I was hooked and talked myself into an Urban Chicken-Keeping apprenticeship with Bee at Fort Hen. I spent that spring and summer learning what it means to work with 50 hens, a neighborhood egg csa and far too many eggs on the kitchen counter. In addition to my rooftop garden, my time spent at Fort Hen solidified my personal work with growing, healing and food.

Holding a hen for the first time. I was excited and terrified all at once.

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