Happy new week, dearies! Over the weekend we attended a fun workshop on urban chicken keeping through Plant Providence. Yes, that’s right, we really are getting chickens! I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about chickens, but I still really wanted to see a chicken setup in person – especially a small urban flock similar to what we will have. I think keeping chickens used to be much more “fringe” in urban areas, but it’s really been catching on, and there was a great turnout at the local workshop. Did you know that most cities in the US allow backyard flocks? It’s true! Although it wasn’t true here in Providence until just a few years ago – but thanks in great part to the work of this lovely lady, we can now legally keep chicks here as well.
As soon as we arrived at the workshop (located at the instructor’s home right here in Providence) I was impressed with how neatly the chicken coop fit into their tiny urban yard. Their four hens looked healthy and happy, and the little a-frame coop with built-in run was very low-profile and attractive. At the start of the workshop we covered the legal considerations – number of hens allowed for your lot size (roosters are still illegal, sorry guys), how many feet from the house to place the coop, etc., We also covered breed selection, whether to purchase baby chick or started pullets (teenage hens almost ready to start laying eggs), and what sort of coop to build.
That’s Leo, one of our sweet instructors, above. They demonstrated how they can lift their entire coop to clean it out, and I was amazed at actually how little there was to clean. A few minutes each day and a few extra minutes on the weekend is all you need to care for chickens – less time than most dog owners spend caring for their pooches. And chickens are quieter than most dogs, too!
I was especially interested to hear that their Araucanas are lighter than the other birds and they can actually fly! Uh-oh. This means you must regularly clip their wings or risk them hopping the fence and landing in a potentially dangerous situation, especially if your neighbors have dogs. Of course, everyone else I’ve spoken to with this breed adores them, and they do lay blue eggs (so cool!), so I think we will still be getting one.
I’ve been scouring all of the local resources to find baby chicks and I think I’ve finally tracked down a feed store that will be carrying all of the breeds I have my heart set on, and that allows a minimum purchase of only four birds (many require a purchase of a dozen or more), so we may actually have our chicks by next weekend!! Oh, and that’s me above, don’t I look like a proud chicken owner already? : )
Are you interested in getting a backyard flock? Do you already have chickens? Think I’m totally nuts for wanting a flock of my own? I want to hear from you!
(all photos: Laura Gaskill)