Author Terry Golson to talk chickens and eggs at the Toadstool in Milford on March 22

MILFORD – It is OK to fall in love with your chickens. No, really. It’s OK.

And it’s also OK to give them names like, oh, Emily Dickinson or, as quite a few people have done, Lady Gaga. No, really. It’s OK.

Who says? Terry Golson. After all, she does. She loves her chickens and she names them and they, in turn, provide her with eggs that, she will tell her audience at the Toadstool Bookshop, are just plain wonderful.

Golson will speak at the Toadstool in Lorden Plaza from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and discuss her new book, “The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook.”

Golson, who lives in Carlisle, Mass., has 19 chickens, all of them named and all the names based upon themes.

“I name every single one of them, and that’s part of fun,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “I replenish the flock every few years, then I pick a theme. Right now, I have two flocks: the Gems, named after rocks, like Ruby and Pearl, and the Literary Ladies named after either famed characters or children’s book authors, like Beatrix for Beatrix Potter or Nancy Drew. People often name their chickens after strong women, like Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s one of the fun things.”

But, Golson insisted, when she speaks at Toadstool, she will not “sugar coat” the issue of raising chickens.

“The fact is, (raising chickens) is easy for certain people, but not for everybody,” she said. “They are living animals with fairly short life spans. They die. People have to be prepared for that.”

And for taking the responsibility for raising living animals.

“Every day, chickens need to eat, drink water and poop,” Golson said. “You have to create an environment for them where they can get what they need and you can keep it tidy and clean. It’s not difficult if you set it up right and are prepared to be responsible for this creature.”

The reward, she said, is a charming animal that can provide its owner with wonderful eggs.

“They all have very
distinct personalities,” Golson said. “They are optimistic, they are always happy to see you, they chat, they have a lot of vocalization.

“And you don’t need a rooster to get eggs,” she said.

The eggs they provide, Golson said, are much different from those one gets at a supermarket.

At Toadstool, she said, “I’m going to talk about how different (back yard) eggs can be” from commercial eggs.

“Most people think of eggs as very uniform, they don’t think of eggs as a seasonal product,” she said. “Everyone knows the difference between strawberries from a farm stand” and those shipped in but with eggs, “all they see is the same brown shell and think they’re all the same, but they’re not.”

The back yard egg, she said, is fresher and because they come from chickens that are less stressed, the texture of the egg is different, for one thing, “and that can really affect what happens in the pan.”

In a nutshell, keeping chickens involves some work but it is fun and rewarding.

“The fact is, they’re very inexpensive to keep around,” Golson said. “It costs me maybe 15 cents a day to keep them.”