Need Chickens?

In this glossy month of May, a black pile of manure in the tilled-up garden surrounded by emerald-green grass, my 12-year-old suggests we need chickens. With previous owners, chickens lived in our barn for decades, so a home for chickens exists with nesting boxes. My daughter’s friends, many of whom have chickens themselves, say, Of course you need chickens.

Maybe it’s just May, season of sunlight and long days, of wildflowers blooming rampantly, of my soil-dirtied hands and dinner outside, maybe my memories of ice and dark winter are already slipping, since I say good idea, and like that, chickens arrive.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

— William Carlos Williams


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.


  1. The answer to chickens is always yes! Entertaining, leftover-eating protein-producing yard art. If possible get a rooster too. Roosters get a bad rap but a gentle rooster is a great yard companion. They always have time to hang out and chat while you’re weeding.

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