The Case for Keeping Hens
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The Case for Keeping Hens

The over-easy mixture of protein and cholesterol you get at IHOP is not an egg. It's a commercial knockoff, as close to the real thing as Folgers crystals are to fresh ground coffee. It may have come from some chicken-like creature some weeks back, but that's where the similarities end.

A real egg sits up in a pan and doesn't run everywhere. It has a deep orange-gold yolk. It doesn't need hot sauce to add flavor. A real egg is laid while you sleep and cracked open fresh into the frying pan the next morning. 

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Which is why your next pet should be a hen. Backyard chicken coops are in fact the new vegetable garden. George Foreman has been a proud hen owner, and Brangelina is rumored to be a fan. The Seattle Tilth organization teaches city chicken-keeping classes, and there are even people keeping chickens in their Manhattan apartments right now – like any other pet, except this one occasionally provides breakfast.

A healthy hen should be able to produce about five eggs per week, and most cities allow three to four chickens per backyard. And if you do happen to live in a city with a live poultry prejudice, you'll have no problem keeping your neighbors quiet with a regular delivery of fresh eggs.