I never thought we'd be able to raise farm animals in the city, especially with a big dog, but after hearing about the urban farming movement taking Portland by storm, I got to thinking....I was tickled pink when SM agreed he'd be interested in building a coop and raising us some chicks! He's an engineer at heart and needs to do a ton of research before embarking on a project whereas I like to dive right in, learn as I go by asking friendly experts for advice. The Tour de Coop provided the perfect compromise for both our learning styles and I'm so glad we did it. We saw coops ranging built from fruit crates to those equipped with cooling fans and solar panels. I particularly enjoyed hearing the owners stories and about the chickens themselves. As with anything you can make raising chickens either a complicated or simple affair. And overall chicks don't seem too fussy. Some key things I learned about raising successful, happy chicks:
- Build a coop that includes the following elements: hen house with nesting box (with privacy), give them roost of varying heights and a run so they can enjoy fresh air.
- Protect you hens from predators by securing the hen house with locks and ensure that food and water is off the ground.
- Keep the coop clean. We will likely use the deep litter method and some type of tray made out of linoleum. Chicken manure makes the BEST fertilizers and will supplement your compost nicely.
- Give them treats. Chicken loves table scraps (veggies only)
- Enjoy them as pets! Except if you plan on making Coq Au Vin. :-)
One of the coops we visited was also home the 2 dairy goats and a kid. The kid was SOOO sweet and playful. She repeatedly jumped into the arms of her human seeking attention.We are both really excited to become urban farmers but must wait patiently for spring. Patience is a virtue I really don't have! I want baby chicks now! SM already has a coop design planned out and I'm concentrating on the important things like what breeds have the prettiest plumage and what to name our girls.
We tried to take photos but there was something wrong with our camera. :-(