Jen: My husband, Chet, keeps the chickens. I work daily to overcome my previous chicken hating ways. Actually it’s not that hard because seeing how much joy Chet and our kids Sonora, River, and Ori Rain get from tending them makes up for it. We are a family of five and we eat a lot of eggs. Knowing that we are not supporting factory farming and that our children are participating in sustainable urban agriculture is a beautiful thing. I think participating in this process is a vital way for our children to connect and engage with the natural world around them.
I was born and raised in Tucson but live in Sierra Vista. I am the proud tender of a backyard flock consisting of 37 laying hens and 2 roosters of varying breeds. I started raising chickens in order to find a humane source of eggs and provide a modest form of food security for my family. Since then I have grown to appreciate the chickens themselves for their personality and entertainment value. Truth is, nothing beats a relaxing afternoon hanging out with my feathered friends after a hard day of work.
Mary: I started keeping chickens six years ago to support my son in his small livestock FFA project in high school. I got hooked, and I now have more than 30 chickens as pets. I am an assistant principal in a TUSD elementary school, and sometimes I bring chickens to school to visit the students. I have a chicken that looks just like the illustrations in the Jan Brett story “Hedgie’s Surprise,” so I bring her as a prop for a read-aloud during Love of Reading Week. This spring I helped our preschool hatch five chicks to study lifecycles. I find that petting a chicken helps upset students to calm down—I wish I could keep a therapy chicken in my office every day!
Grayson: Every day is an Easter egg hunt, and the chickens are my friends and I get to have fun with them because they are funny to watch and play with. I love them.
Kristen: Chickens are phenomenal little dinosaurs and are way smarter than anyone gives them credit for. We enjoy observing them for our entertainment, and of course are so grateful for their bountiful eggs that nourish us every day. Our girls become part of our family, and during spring and fall when the doors to our house are open you will likely find a chicken wandering in our kitchen and dining room … they are so curious and love to be around us. Chickens make us laugh and they provide incredible bounty.
We have had chickens for four years, starting with three hens to now 25 that are free range. We are on five acres in northwest Tucson, west of Marana High School. The chickens each have their own entertaining special character. They are beautiful and proud. And mostly they make delicious eggs!
Chickens make great friends when your human friends become boring! Plus they give you fresh eggs, and that’s something a human can never supply no matter how hard they try.✜