Weekend Inspiration: Chickens!

This weekend is the last few days of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Who’s going, who went, how was it? I didn’t make it this year. Just too many things around the homestead that needed me.
There are two events coming up that I’m particularly excited about. The first is another class by Dan Vorhis at Sky Nursery on Fruits and Berries for the Northwest Backyard on Saturday at 11 am. The other is the first official meeting of the Seattle Urban Homesteaders MeetUp Group. That’s being held Sunday from 5-8 pm. If you are interested in meeting some urban gardeners, chicken-keepers and bee-masters, consider joining us. Additional details on the Calendar.
We’re thinking about taking the chicken plunge. Who’s got chicks or will be picking them up soon? Any tips, tricks, resources or advice for a family considering adopting some “girls”?
Have a great weekend! I’ll be spending mine behind a shovel and a wheelbarrow, filling up that perennial bed we just finished. Will you be braving the cold to get a jump on spring?


  1. says

    I went Wednesday and only because I got a half day ticket for $10. I went last year also and felt the the same this year – not enough gardens, too much blown glass crap and other things for sale. I did like the plants for sale and I must confess I didn't go to any seminars, which might make it worth paying full price. Also, the garden area is too dark! Enough whining.

    Our friends Ian and Tori got three girls last years, and are working towards their own farm. Clearly, we need to hook you up. Meetup at the Roanoke one night? Sans childrens? :)

  2. says

    Chickens are a must have!! We're lucky to have moved to a farm where we can have chickens and livestock, but even if you live in town & can swing it without the "chicken-police" coming after you, Chickens are one of the best farm animals in my opinion, especially for those just starting out. They provide eggs (meat if you want) and hours upon hours of entertainment. We go outside & watch "Chicken TV".

    Tips & hints? Be ready for poop. Lots & lots of poop. Make sure the chicks dont get cold or too hot, make sure they have enough room so they don't pick on each other. You'll be cleaning out water dishes like every ten minutes and they will kick all the feed out of their feed dishes in eight minutes. Still worth it though.
    Good luck!

  3. says

    Foible-I have felt that way too in the past. I think going to more seminars would help but I have to be realistic with two little ones. Roanoke night sounds great! Maybe we can do an Urban Homesteader thing there! :)
    Jaimee-I hope lots of info comes both our ways! Got your email, let's talk gardening!
    Carolyn-I'm limited to 3 (*Achoo! might-get-6-anyway. Achoo!* No one heard me say that, right?) Do you have any idea how much poop 3 (or 6) chickens would generate? Any suggestions for the best way to deal with said poop and minimize any smell issues? I understand there are various "techniques" for bedding that impact clean-up, etc? Also any recommendations for bedding material if quality compost is a desired side benefit of the poop? Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. says

    Headed towards chicken-keeping here, too. When we had chickens many years ago, it went right in the compost pile full of produce scrap and quickly broke down into beautiful compost. I believe we had hay in the coop but nothing on the ground. My current compost contains hay with chicken droppings from a friend with a couple dozen hens in town. Lots of hay on the ground seemed to keep the odor down.

    Not braving the weather to garden this weekend here. Today is supposed to be dusty thanks to high winds (up to 50 mph!), tonight is 100% chance of rain, tomorrow is partial chance of snow, and a hard freeze Sunday night. However, it will be a good time to reseed the indoor lettuce trays, go through our seeds to decide what will be in the container garden, research ordering deliveries of soil and straw bales, and debate whether we really could turn the big spa tub into an aquaponics system indoors.

  5. says

    I'm of course strongly considering taking the chicken plunge this year as well. My must reads in order are Raising Chickens for Idiots, then Dummies, then Coops for Dummies. I'm now also a regular on BackyardChickens.com. HUGE following there, though they can be pretty dogmatic on chicken math and space needs. They mean well though.

    My brother and I are supposed to build our coops very soon, but he just lost his job as well, so he may not get them. I'm holding off until he decides. He's my chicken support group. Hehe.

  6. says

    We got our 3 chooks last March, and it's been a blast! We get enough eggs for the 3 adults in our household, plus extras to give away. They are SO easy to take care of, once you get them a weather- and predator-proof coop. Ours go into a 4'x6' Rubbermaid shed that I added ventilation to at night(ventilation's very important for chickens, I've learned — so important that I kept one vent open even when it got down below zero here in Jan.). During the day, they free-range around our suburban fenced back yard. In summer, they forage for most of their nutrients. And they are so entertaining! Who knew? I strongly recommend backyardchickens.com, especially their forums. Lots of great hand-holding going on there, which helped me a lot. You can see my coop set-up on my BYC page — I'm "prairiepearls." That reminds me — I need to update my page with all the finishing touches I put on the coop!

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