In case I forgot to mention it in the blog, Krista & I are dedicated to getting chickens in the next year. In Olympia, it’s legal to keep three hens (no roosters!) in city limits. We almost got chickens this year, but decided to wait until we buy a house because, let’s be serious, renting a place with two dogs, two cats, and a kid is hard enough. Throw in some chickens, and you’re nearing a certifiable level of insanity. You need your own place for that.
Why do we want to have chickens? Everyone asks us. We are planning on continuing our vegetarian diet, and Levi shows no signs of becoming a meat eater, so the chickens will stay far away from a dinner plate. Eggs from your backyard are more flavorful than grocery store eggs, higher in omega-3’s and vitamin E, and lower in cholesterol. They have dark orange yolks instead of the pale ones from the store. Chickens like to eat garden pests, including my sworn mortal enemies, the slugs. They also eat weeds, grass, and yard waste (less mowing and pesticide free yards!) and most any table scraps. So, I figure, if we can make organic protein for our diet and the food can travel like 10 feet from source to table, i have an obligation to do it. Keeping chickens is definitely not vegan, but it’s a non-veganism I can feel okay about. Plus, chickens are hilarious. And their manure makes for AWESOME COMPOST which leads to MORE AWESOME VEGETABLE GARDENING. That is my life’s work, right there. Chickens and zucchini in harmony.
Here are some urban chicken websites I recommend.
My Pet Chicken — great source of info and a wonderful resource. plus, they sell small #s of chicks, so you can get 3 not 25.
Backyard Chickens — another really informative site with lively messageboards & tons of resources.
Greener Pastures this is a sort-of local farm we’d like to buy chickens from when we’re ready. They raise organic chicks & pullets, offer recipes for making your own chicken feed (with stuff you can buy in bulk at the coop) and carry the breeds we’re interested in.
We hope to get a silver laced wyandotte, an easter egger, and a buff orpington. Levi has already gotten attached to the hypothetical buff orpington and plans to name it himself, so I hope we can actually find one when the time comes.
Seattle Tilth had a City Chickens Coop Tour last weekend. For our anniversary weekend extravaganza, we drove north to visit some chicken coops! Ok, that sounds a little weird, but it was a lovely day. We met a lot of lovely people, saw lovely coops, and communed with some lovely urban farmyard animals. There’s nothing like sunshine and the open (coop) doors of strangers. We met several “oops” roosters on their way to new homes, some baby goats, several hives of honey bees, a yard of ducks, and an impossible number of chickens & the people who love them.
We saw several living “green” roofs on different coops — a roof that is covered with soil & vegetation. We liked the look of them as much as I thought we would, and it cemented our desire to integrate this feature into our future coop. I think this would give us an outlet for Krista’s fascination with succulents.
at the “Lay Chalet,” we met Seth & his lady friends, Softail, Coco, and Einstein. They live in a unique coop bursting with personality & made from 80% recycled/reclaimed materials.
our last stop of the day coincidentally was this coop. we saw a picture of this coop a long time ago in the Seattle Times, and it has sort of been a personal “Gold Standard” since then. The window box grows real strawberries & herbs. The roof is alive. The hardware pulls are all adorable, vintage & reclaimed. There is a tiny rain barrel. The design of the coop with extra doors makes it really easy to shovel out the bedding, and there are two compost bins under the extra doors, making it even easier to compost directly outside the coop. The owner said she alternates the compost bins, using the finished one while the other finishes cooking. Part of the coop is a storage shed for extra bedding, tools, and feed. It’s a fantastic example of really thoughtful design. We were so happy to see it in person!
Don’t worry, we are planning to get bees, too. More on that later.
we will probably refrain from getting ducks because that is a lot of livestock! it was great to see these silly ducks quacking around a Seattle backyard.
I’d love to get dairy goats (and make cheese, yogurt, and butter) but I am not sure if we can find a lot big enough in the city in our price range to hold the little farm of our dreams … Look at their crazy eyes! baby goats!
We came home to our own crazy household and their ridiculous antics. I am not sure how the dogs and cats are going to react to the chickens, but I bet it will be worth tuning in for.
P.S. our cat, elsa, fell out the window last night. oh, she is totally fine, but the volume of her “RESCUE ME” meows at 3am nearly cost her her life. never a dull moment…