among the couple of baby Cochin chicken that endured the expedition to Sara Sarasohn"s residence in Berkeley, Calif. Last week. Sara Sarasohn/ hide caption

one of the couple of baby Cochin chicks that survived the expedition to Sara Sarasohn"s home in Berkeley, Calif. Last week.

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Sara Sarasohn/

At my grocery store in Berkeley, Calif., an organic head that lettuce is much less than $2. An essential chicken expenses as lot as $17.

But think me: the chicken is worth every penny.

Right currently I have actually three backyard-raised chicken in my freezer. My family and also I ate a 4th one for dinner ~ above Friday. From the time we bought them for $2 apiece as small baby chicks last autumn until us slaughtered lock Tuesday afternoon, we invested $15 worth of chicken feed and many hrs of work right into each one of them.

But this month has actually been a reminder of just how risky and uhunterriverpei.comedictable increasing your very own food deserve to be.

We flourish vegetables in increased beds in our Berkeley yard, and also I deserve to go days and also even weeks when I don"t pay lot attention come them. Yet the hefty breed chicken we advanced — great for eating and also laying egg — should be tended countless times a day.

Since we obtained our an initial batch that chicks two years ago, we"ve gotten pretty good at raising, killing and eating lock in practically a perfect cycle, with one batch mature simply as the next batch come in.

Then, critical Monday, I got a call from the post office. Our brand-new batch that Cochin chicken was prepared to be choose up. (Baby chicken are sent in the U.S. Mail ideal after they space hatched, however the mail transport doesn"t lug them to our house.)

As castle cheeped from your cardboard crate on my method home, ns felt great.

But as soon as we opened up the box, my heart sank. One of the babies was dead in the corner of the box. The rest of them had actually a tough time standing and also were relocating slowly. Something was plainly very wrong.

I invested Monday afternoon running earlier and forth in between my desk and the box. I tried to aid the weaker ones, dipping your beaks in sugar water and hoping they would remain upright when I collection them down. Over then next couple of days, 18 of castle died.

With each little death, I had to recalibrate what we would eat this comes summer — the only meat we chef in our home is the chicken we raise. We likewise usually market some of our egg-laying chickens, for this reason the loss of so countless babies is walk to typical a tiny less money a few months from now.

This isn"t a hardship for us. If we really necessary meat we can buy it in ~ the grocery store store, and the financial security of our family members isn"t resting on the chicken we sell.

"Can"t you just obtain the agency to send you much more chicks?" a lot of my girlfriend asked. The seems prefer a reasonable fix, if the chicken were defective shoes or toys we notified on the Internet. Living things room different, vulnerable to diseases and also predators and, we suspect in the case of these infant chicks, the cold.

Much of ours food is vulnerable, yet we room not provided to bearing the cost when things go wrong. It"s the farmer or the distributor or the grocery save who needs to absorb many of the casualty when develop spoils or animals die.

On Tuesday, we slaughtered 4 roosters. They began crowing on Monday, which is our signal that they space mature and ready to be eaten. I made stock with the feet and necks the evening.

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Making the stock is easy compared to the remainder of the work we did last week. Over the following several months, our whole family is going to spend many hours taking treatment of our remaining babies before any type of of them space old sufficient to lay egg or come eat. And also we"re going to start anew with a couple of more chicks from the hatchery, too.