For some time now, we have been talking about raising some chickens for their eggs but we couldn’t seem to get serious about it for several reasons. – To begin with, our travels pretty much prevented any idea of chickens although I briefly considered a chicken house on a small trailer that I could attach to the back of our fifth wheel, Fiona II. Susie and Indiana traffic laws cut that idea short.
There was also the problem with varmints. Hawks, dogs and coyotes were all a threat. I spent some time trying to design some sort of pen that would keep the chickens safe going so far as to study the layout of Guantanamo Bay but decided that was probably overkill on my part. Like so many of the things I plan, the chicken thing has not worked out thus far. However, I came across a story about the H-E-B stores in Texas rationing eggs with their customers because of a Flu virus infecting chickens causing them to be slaughtered by the millions. This was enough for me to start thinking about raising our own chickens again because some things have changed in our life.
For one thing, we are planning on cutting back on our travels and moving into a neighborhood on the Southside of Indianapolis. Several of our neighbors have backyard chickens and we have a fenced yardwhich will go a long way towards eliminating varmints. The only problem I have encountered thus far is that we are not allowed to have a rooster in this neighborhood. Thus the title of this post. Too bad. By the way, H-E-B Grocery stores are like Publix in Florida and Kroger in the Midwest. They dominate a good part of the South Texas grocery market.
Anyway, I wrote my column last week on this story and you will find it below. As you read, you will see that I wrote that I was setting out to do a story on Bruce Jenner but that’s not true at all. I only mentioned him in a kind of yellow journalism manner, trying to attract the prurient interests of my readers, such that they are. I wish now I hadn’t mentioned the Bruce Jenner thing at all. It’s a train wreck kind of story. Sad and completely incomprehensible to me. Anyway, my story on rationed eggs.
I don’t wish to start a panic amongst my loyal readers but I feel it is my duty as a sometime investigative journalist to let you know what’s going on around the country. Like every other News source in this country, I set out to do a piece on the biggest topic in the country; the saga of Bruce Jenner. But I have to tell you folks that this whole topic of conversation is just too weird for this old guy to comprehend so I abandoned that idea.
However, on a real newsworthy note; in doing my initial research, I came across a story on a severe outbreak of Avian bird flu in the United States that is causing the destruction of whole flocks of commercial egg laying poultry. This virus, like many of the products on our store shelves, is another present from China and is causing a huge disruption in the production of eggs for our everyday use.
That’s about all I have to say on the subject because if I go any further, it will require some serious research on my part and with my attention span, I feel that it is best to leave those kinds of efforts up to the full time staff of this newspaper.
However, I will tell you that this column originated because, in doing what little research I did do, I discovered that notices on egg rationing are beginning to pop up in grocery store dairy departments around the country. This revelation piqued my interest enough for me to do a quick, unofficial and very unscientific survey of stores in Central Indiana on the question of egg supplies. You will be happy to know that, at least for now, the survey did not produce any disturbing news about disruption of my morning breakfast routine.
“What did you call that again?” the dairy clerk asked after I informed him of my concern.
“Avian bird flu.” I said. “It’s from China.”
“No. Never heard of it. We get E-mails on that kind of thing and I haven’t seen any E-Mails. I believe the prices are going up though.”
And they are. I just paid 2.49 for a dozen which is about twice what we paid 5 years ago. That’s just another example of why retirement planning on a fixed income is almost impossible. 15 years ago, when we were planning our retirement, our financial planner never even considered the possibility of Avian Bird Flu and what it could do to our little nest egg. –Sorry, no pun intended. Actually, that’s a lie. I fully intended to do that and I had to rewrite this paragraph 3 times before I could make it readable. –
If the price goes much higher, this could turn into a real crisis. I have been eating eggs for breakfast since the chicken was invented. We may even have to consider raising our own chickens again. We tried that when we first moved to the country over 40 years ago but at that time, the cost of eggs had nothing to do with it. I really wanted to have fresh fried chicken like my Aunt Lucine used to make on the farm. That experiment didn’t work because we found out that neither of us had what it takes to kill a chicken. My mother and my Aunt made it look so easy but we couldn’t do it so the chickens continued to grow and get tough. When they started terrorizing the neighborhood dogs, we abandoned the project, rounding up the chickens and shipping them to Yellowstone National Park where they were released into the wild at the same time the Timberwolves were. Before you ask, I never heard what happened. Maybe Bigfoot had them for dinner.
Anyway, for the near future until I can get a chicken ranch established, I will keep telling myself that that the cost of eggs is relative. At 2.49 a dozen, that’s still only 20 cents an egg. That won’t break our food budget, especially if I can convince Susie that she really doesn’t need eggs for breakfast. I know that sounds selfish but it’s not. Her doctor is concerned with her blood test results and I’m just trying to help her with her cholesterol intake. Everyone knows eggs aren’t good for you.
Cereal is obviously much better for her. Honest. Still, I know what she’s going to say.
“I don’t remember the doctor saying I couldn’t have eggs and besides that, if cereal is better for me, then why isn’t cereal better for you?”
I don’t have an answer for her yet but I hope to have one before breakfast tomorrow.