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Our friends built a coop in their backyard to raise chickens. In turn, the chickens provide fresh eggs, about seven or eight per day. That is about six eggs too many for them, so they look for places and people to donate eggs. Over the weekend we attended a charity auction where one of the items was a supply of fresh eggs, delivered to the winner’s door. We were the winning bidders, so now we will receive a half dozen eggs per week for the next month. That addresses the issue of some of the egg excess, although not all of it.

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I was curious about what motivated my friends to want to raise chickens. Massachusetts is not a hotspot for the rearing of chickens, and our friends don’t have a background in farming. It seems that their desire to raise chickens, which was apparently long standing, was just one of those things not so easily explained. Not only do they get fresh eggs and pet chickens; the husband benefited from the chicken coop construction project because it turned into a father-son bonding experience with his young adult son. 

At the charity auction, the auctioneer turned on a computer and projected live scenes from the chicken coop. In addition to building a coop and stocking the chickens, our friends set up a remote chicken cam and internet connection.  If you have the password, you can watch the chickens 24/7. I started doing it, not 24/7 of course, but I invested some time watching the web cam. The experience is a little bit like watching an aquarium, although it’s dry, there are no fish, and you can hear the chickens squawking. Usually fish don’t make noise.    

The appeal (such as it is) of viewing a chicken yard comes the experience of watching an alien society and trying to see what makes it tick (or in this case, cluck). Chickens have personalities.  You can watch the individual chickens to see who is king of the roost, who is the sneaky one, who is honest at the feed bowl and who engages in foul play. Chickens are interesting, for a few minutes. But it should be noted that chickens aren’t like people (at least, most people) in that their repertoire and behaviors are limited. 

A quick google tour suggests that my friends aren’t the only ones to setup a webcam.  For example, at the Flying Skunk Farm on Martha’s Vineyard, you can log into a webcam for a yard which also features ducks and a goat.
The website also allows you to interactively feed the chickens. And, it provides a convenient chicken chat room where human guests can comment on the proceedings. The chat room is moderated by “Eggorypeck”. 

 It’s great that modern technology allows you to virtually experience the proceedings at a chicken coop. This is a significant improvement over a few decades ago, when one had to travel to an actual coop to watch the chickens. 

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Somewhat similar to chickens, many bridge projects now offer web cams so you can remotely watch the progress and experience the construction of a new bridge. The Lake Champlain Bridge website provided a webcam to observe construction during the 2 year period before its opening last fall.

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