http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addicted : to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively
I have no idea why I'm addicted to chickens.
I love everything about them. I love the chicken noises, the way they help eat the bugs in my garden, the way they keep the lawn at 2" tall, the way they make fertilizer for my yard and eat my kitchen scraps. I love that they make me breakfast and I absolutely love hatching eggs. I love their dinosaur feet and personalities. I love how connected I feel to my food and the land when I have chickens in the yard. The whole experience of setting up an incubator and following through to the hatching of chicks consumes me.
When I have chickens in the yard, I go outside even more than usual. I spend more time puttering around the yard fixing things and caring for my plants. They just make me... happy.
I try to explain this to everyone who looks at me with squinty eyes while they say "You have Chickens?! But you live in the suburbs!" I have had people come back to me years later, and now that it is popular with Martha Stewart and some changing laws in San Diego, now they want to know more. I think it's great, I try to share, and that's when they start to back away slowly. "But wait!", I shout, "I have more stories! I haven't gotten to tell you how to keep the predators out!"
Yeah, I may be a little more involved with chickens than I should be, for having such a small capacity to keep them.
I have gone cold turkey without the chickens for about a year. I had even given up my predator proof aviary, I got tired of defending myself to the HOA and the animal hating neighbor (only 1 in my hood). I moved them to a rural area and would go visit and chicken sit when needed. It was nice, but it was like having a smoke once in a while, it left me wanting more. I told myself that the neighbor would try to make "them" take away my other pets, and that it was important to keep good neighbor relations. I told myself the cackle "I just laid an egg" noise was too much (in a hood filled with barking dogs). I convinced myself to give up my addiction, I have hardly gardened since.
Then I fell off the wagon.
Now I am building a new, better version of chicken utopia, while I candle compulsively. I have manic days when I see a little movement, and depressed days when I can't find life in the incubator, just hope. I find it difficult to think of anything else, I forget to eat, but remember to turn the eggs and talk to them in hopes that they are still growing. I obsessively read BYC and anything else I can find on chickens, eggs, hatching, building coops. I find I don't want to do anything else. I garden in the yard to prepare for the chicks and actually started growing food again for myself.
I even shop for more eggs and chicks, just in case the current incubator batch fails. I buy another incubator, you know, just in case.
I have more thermometers and hygrometers than I will ever admit to having.
I plan for the automatic door opener, the chick-cam, and the really cute coop.
My biggest blessing in this addiction is that I can come here, to BYC, and read other people's notes and realize that I am not alone, I am not the only crazy chicken lady in the suburbs, I am not the only one addicted to chickens. The other blessing is that my hubby has finally agreed to move to the country with me, he doesn't understand my addiction, but being addicted to something that provides so much benefit to the family and my mental health is actually not so bad after all.
And the eggs taste so good!