On my chest of drawers sits a stuffed chick. My daughter gave it to me to fulfill my desire to keep chickens, because my family has urged me not to take this on. The realities of raising actual chicks to laying hens would require starting with 40 or so chicks, cooking them mash every day, securing shelter from foxes, raccoons, and coyotes, shoveling up manure and cleaning the bedding. I eat eggs and like them, but I would have to accept the facts of raising hens. For one thing, they might peck at their own droppings, so one should put some kind of mesh in the right place in the coop. Every dozen eggs laid requires about four pounds of chicken feed. This suggests how densely packed a nutrition nugget one egg is.

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