My name is Christine and I am from a tiny town in central Illinois. I'm not new, but I was an external user for sometime. I posted an article Blood on the eggs- a primer in Chicken vent anatomy and common injury a while back because I had gotten curious about some of the vague answers new chicken parents get about this common phenomenon.
My chicken adventure began with my then 8 year old who was very worried about my diagnosis of SLE Lupus and read a lot about triggers that made mommy sick. I was often subject to a flare up after eating chicken or eggs. The precocious child that he was did some digging and learned that it might be the chicken feed, not so much the chicken itself that was triggering me.
He then set out on a campaign to raise our own chickens. My husband was not keen, but my son's enthusiasm was contagious and won out. Then even though we live in a tiny country town he learned that chickens were outlawed in town. So, now age 9, he made a presentation to the town council and went to meetings for 4 months until they finally agreed and passed the Chicken and Rabbit Ordinance in 2014.
So my flock of ladies, a barred rock "Dumpling", a black australorp "Noodles", a rhode island red "Hot Wings", a buff rock "Parmesan" and 3 New Hampshire "Peep, Fingers and Salad" now live in our back yard and keep me company with my coffee each morning. We aren't permitted to range, but I keep expanding their run, so they've got nearly a quarter acre enclosure at this point. They produce up to 3 dozen eggs a week in the summer, and 6-12 a week last winter. They are all named after food "in case it doesn't work out." We also raise 1-2 birds for meat each year. This year both "Teriyaki" and "Barbecue" our Cornish Crosses were celebrated feasts.
We feed them our own mix. It turns out whole organic bulk foods cost about the same as layer feed and this year I farmed for them and the family, producing about 1/4 of their food in our own backyard.
I'm not crunchy about the whole thing, and not religious about rules, but I can say that by keeping their diet myself I have been able to enjoy eggs and chicken meat without flare up.
Nice to meet you all.