Welcome to TheCityChicken.com. It's a web site to encourage city folks to take the plunge into poultry! You can have chickens...It's easy! I created this website to inspire people who have been wanting to keep some chickens in their backyard. I hope the pictures and info will motivate you to try what you've been wanting to for a long time: Bring a little country into your city life. You are looking at this web site because you've been bit by the chicken bug and need to know how to get started with your chicken-keeping endeavors. Well, you could start here! - - - - - Katy Skinner, the Pacific Northwest, USA. - firstname.lastname@example.org
--- Look at this space first for news and crrent events! Updated December 2013 ---
It’s December already? That means
it’s getting cold at night! What do you do for your chickens when
it gets cold? Well, basically, you should have a “house part” of
your coop where your chickens can go to escape the weather. Your
coop probably already has this; it’s the place where your chickens usually
lay their eggs. Now, my hens are silly; they won’t sleep on the perch
that is provided for them in the enclosed house part! They insist
on perching on another perch in the “run” part, where they are exposed
more to wind and rain. So I met them half-way; I attached some thin
wood paneling on the outside of the coop next to where they perch at night,
essentially making a wind-break for them. But I’ll tell ya; it got
down to 2 degrees here last winter! That’s the lowest I’ve ever seen
a thermometer in my life. Yet my chickens seemed fine. A lot
of things that you read on the ‘net will say just that; cold temps don’t
really harm chickens. However, I want my chickens to be comfy, not
just survive. So I have a hook right above their perch. When
it gets much below freezing outside, I hang my chicken heat lamp (a fixture
with a 250 watt bulb) right over their perch where they sleep. Well,
not too close; we
don’t want to singe any feathers. I run an extension cord from
the deck to the coop. During the day, I unplug the cord. On
really cold nights, I plug it in. I also like throwing a tarp over
the whole chicken tractor when the rain gets kind of ridiculous.
The other side-effect of having a light on in the coop at night is that
it sort of tricks their pituitary glands in their brains into perceiving
that the days are longer, and this often keeps them laying longer in to
the winter. (Some think this is “forcing” a hen to lay, but from
what I’ve read and experienced, it’s not harmful.) One year when
my hens started laying fewer and fewer eggs as the days got shorter, I
hung a 6 watt fluorescent bulb in their coop. This was all it took;
within 48 hours I got an egg. Another wintertime chicken topic is
frostbite of the comb and wattles of a chicken. Some say to rub Vaseline
or zinc diaper ointment on combs to shield from frostbite. Others
say this is useless against cold but harmless. Another cold-weather
consideration is frozen water. This is a common
water-container heater. My routine is more low-tech; I
just bring a jug of hot water out in the morning after a hard freeze and
pour it into their water bucket. Don’t let your chickens run out
of clean water! One more thing I like to do is to keep a bale of
“compressed wood shavings”
in the garage. When I see any standing water or mud in the coop,
I put down a layer of the wood shavings. This absorbs water which
reduces pathogens that thrive in wet conditions. Do your best to
keep standing water out of your coop. Enjoy December!
Skinner / email@example.com
"Hey Katy, I couldn't not write to you and say thanks for being so adorable! So this is just a quick email to tell you I've spent far too much time over the past two days on your website (when I should be working and doing chores and things)! We decided last week it was time to "turn our kitchen scraps into eggs" and become a little more self-sufficient. Getting a few laying hens is our start point. Your site and its wealth of friendly information (and warnings - no pens with 4 exposed corners: got it!) as well as the pictorials are giving us countless ideas for our first hen house, which we're going to name The Diggers Club (because we're from Australia and our first day of foraging in our garage for things to make our A-frame ex-swingset house from just happens to be falling on our ANZAC Day public holiday, which comemmorates our "diggers" and servicemen and women)! Thank you so much. I'm so excited about our project, haven't kept chickens since I was a kid. And now I'm just a big kid ;-) I'll be back, for sure. In fact, I may have to give myself time limits for visiting your website or I'll never get anything done again! Cheerio," ---Kirrily W., Melbourne, Austrailia
you on FaceBook? If so, join the new group called: "Fans
Of TheCityChicken.com." (https://www.facebook.com/groups/242993208492/)
Over 1,200 members and counting! Super helpful folks to chat with
there, with the convenience of FaceBook! Your chicken questions
get answered *fast!*
area: Growing Gardens' 2013 Tour de Coops! Growing-Gardens.org
is seeking a wide range of coops to feature on this year's tour. Do you
have a coop that you would like to show off to the community?
To receive an interest form, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://www.growing-gardens.org.
. . . . *Event
happens every year!*
Do you live in the Pacific Northwest?
you want to go to a poultry show? You get to just wander around
and view breed after breed of crazy and cool chickens! Find
an event near you at this site, and write it on your calendar!
Here is a great site that lists
upcoming poultry shows and events (public welcome, always free!) in
WA, CA, MT, ID. . . . . http://washingtonfeatherfanciers.webs.com/localshows.htm
Portland, Oregon area: Introduction
to Urban Chicken Keeping workshop. . . Learn the basics of raising
happy, healthy chickens for fresh eggs. . . . . *Event
happens every year!*. . . For more
information or to sign up contact Rodney at email@example.com
. . . . Tell 'em Katy sent you. :)
Burns Feed Store, Gresham, Oregon
) is having a Poultry Seminar with Dr. James Hermes, . . .
. .*Event happens every
. . . . OSU Associate Professor and Extension Poultry Specialist.
Location: Guide Dogs For The Blind, 32901 S.E. Kelso Rd., Boring, OR 97009.
Find out more here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Burns-Feed-Store/224076588622
– and/or - here: http://tinyurl.com/49zdcrt
of the publications (click for links) TheCityChicken.com has been mentioned
The New York Times
You can pick any kinds of chickens you want! But it's fun to window shop for chickens on the internet! Here are some handy breed selection website pages:
And what do all these terms about eggs
Is keeping chickens in your city or suburban backyard legal? The odds are on your side. TheCityChicken.com has a new page: ChickenLaws.html. Check it out! Every city is different. Try looking up your city codes on-line. Most cities have their codes on-line these days. If you can't find a clear answer, try emailing various people at your cities' agency websites. The rules on keeping chickens might be handled by your cities' Animal Control, or maybe it is covered by your County. Don't take the first person's reply as gospel. Every city has different rules, and it might take some research to find out what those rules and laws are. For example, in Portland, Oregon, the rules can be found here: http://www.mchealth.org/vector/nuisance.htm#specanimals . . . . In Portland you can keep up to three hens without a permit. Roosters are prohibited, and if you want to keep more than three hens, you need a permit. . . . . . . . .In some large cities, it's no problem to keep a few hens in your back yard. Yet in some rural towns, you have to submit a proposal to the Town Council and request to keep some hens. Some towns don't approve of chicken tractors, because they can be moved around, and that particular town might require that chickens 50 feet away from all neighbors at all times. So, even though chicken tractors are so practical, they are met with resistance in some towns. I'm certain people don't have to submit proposals when they want to keep cats or dogs. That's nearly considered a right in America. Dogs are allowed to go right up to their fence line and bark at any time they want. Dogs and cats don't have to be kept 50 feet from all neighbors at all times; why chickens? Dogs bark at night way after dark at times, yet hens don't make a peep after the sun goes down. And don't get me started on how many pet cats poop in people's yards. You might start changing people's thinking by getting one of these bumper stickers.
Some videos I’ve taken of my very own chickens:
chickens seem less happy? The hens in the heat or the hens in the
snow? Click on the links below to see short videos:
So you want to get more chickens, do you? Of course you do! They can become an addiction. :) Let's say your neighbor is giving away some hens. Or say you already have chickens but would like a few more, so you go to your local feed store and pick up some irresistible little chicks. Don't put new chickens in with old until you look at the sites below!
How do you introduce the new chickens to the already-established flock? I'll tell you right now: It's not easy. Chickens have a personality that can be cute and curious, and they can turn into a Velociraptor in seconds. And there is no reasoning with them; they run on instincts most of the time.
Here are three pages that give good ideas for attempting to do the near impossble:
What should you do if you have an extra rooster you want to get rid of, or too many hens, or you want to sell your chickens before you move, or you're just plain tired of chickens for some reason that other people should not question because they have not walked a mile in your moccasins?
Don't feel bad about it. I would use and have used CraigsList.com to post an ad giving away or sometimes selling my chickens. You can, too. It can't be guaranteed they won't become dinner for someone, but much more often that not they won't be. However, I personally believe a chicken dinner is a noble end for a chicken. Ooh, controversial! Also try giving away your extra chickens at FreeCycle.org.
We've moved a few times, and one time I gave my homemade coop and hens to a friend, one time I sold the whole lot on CraigsList, and another time I took the coop but sold the chickens to a feed store. When we were setttled in our new house, I raised up another batch of chicks from the feed store. People might think I'm being a little cold in just giving away my pets. But chickens aren't horses or dogs.
They bridge the
gap between pets and livestock. So don't feel guilty about your
changing life circumstances. If people are wanting to get back
to olden times, then we also need to give up some of the modern anthropomorphizing
we do with animals.
Have you heard of “compost tea?” It’s adding water to compost and using the resulting water as liquid fertilizer for your garden. You can do it with chicken poop, too! One way is to put a shovel-full of your chicken’s manure into a burlap bag, essentially making a giant manure tea bag of sorts. Put that bag into a five gallon bucket. Let it steep for a week. (Keep any 5 gallon buckets with any kind of liquid in them away from children and pets.) Then, dilute the resulting liquid with plain water. Some people say it should be one part “tea” to nine parts water, to be on the safe side. Then water your plants with it. Don’t add raw or uncomposted chicken manure right on top of your garden or flower beds. I know; I’ve done it. It kills (“burns”) emerging plants. I’ve also killed a plant or two by using undiluted chicken manure “tea.” So learn from my mistakes! Before you try any of the above, read this short article on making and using chicken manure "tea."
You don't need a
fancy composter to take care of the dirty chicken bedding / litter that
your chicken coop produces. Just put it in a pile in a corner of
your yard. Wait a year, and then put some pumpkin seeds on the top
of the pile, and then enjoy getting an award for your neighborhood's largest
pumpkin. :) (Knowing
me, I probably wouldn't have the patience to wait a year.
I'd probably try putting seeds in the pile right away. Pumpkins are
crazy; they might just take off!)
comments from readers of TheCityChicken.com:
"Hi there! Thank you so much for the work you have done to your website. I wanted to start keeping some banty hens and a book I bought and read almost had me give up the idea. That is, until I found your site! The book made it sound like a terribly difficult thing, to keep a chicken. I live in the city and my Home Owners Association doesn't allow anything other than dogs and cats, so I had to build the coop and run small and neat…Thanks again and keep up the good work!" ---M.O.
"Dear Katy...You BY FAR - have one of the VERY BEST sites I have found. The pictures are great and have given me all sorts of ideas for a chicken tractor and you have such wonderful information included in your site. Thank you so much!!!" ---Cheryl O., Monroe, NC
"Dear Katy...I just wanted to write and say thank you for such a wonderful, informative, and inspiring website. I am a newbie at raising chickens, and I have to say that I love it. I really never expected that chickens have so much personality and that they could be so addicting to own!" - - - T.S., Sherwood, Oregon
Katy...Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoying coming back to
your site and this time you've have added a lot of new stuff that you're
up to. You were the website that gave me the courage to
buy chickens and keep them in our dog kennel. We are still loving
the chickens, getting 5 eggs a day (soon to be six), and proud to be chicken
owners. I'm getting ready to email your site to a friend who's buying
her first chickens this weekend. Thanks again."
very nice notes from readers of TheCityChicken.com:
TheCityChicken.com stickers are $1. . . . . . . .The stickers are weather-proof, high quality, adhesive-backed vinyl so you can stick them on things like your car bumper, bike or even chicken coop. . . . . . . . . The sticker measures 5.5 inches by 1.5 inches. . . . . . . . . . The color is white with black printing . . . . . .Send a dollar bill to: Katy Skinner, (email me for address) . . . . . . . . Canadian and other country customers, please affix .75 cents worth of USA postage stamps on your S.A.S.E. -or- add an extra $1 bill . . . . . . . .Please, send dollar bills only; no checks. . . . . . . . Please include a S.A.S.E. (self-addressed, stamped envelope.) . . . Don't forget the stamp on your S.A.S.E! . . . . . Thank you! . . . . . . Katy Skinner . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org