We are enthusiastic participants in the backyard chicken revival. Before taking the plunge, I took a great intro class at Seattle Tilth, stalked the community forums at Backyard Chickens to absorb as much as possible, and talked Dan into building the coop. We were further encouraged by our next door neighbors who assured us that they’re pretty low maintenance and a lot of fun. They were right! These ladies provide entertainment, fertilizer for our gardens, and delicious, organic eggs that take recipes to a whole new level. They don’t ask for much in return and now that we have some experience with it, I think we’ll be keeping chickens for awhile.
We bought our first little flock in the Spring of 2011 from the Issaquah Grange when they were 2 days old. These are our first fuzzy-butt chickies (L to R): Tess (Easter Egger), Maggie (Silver Laced Wyandotte) and Rosie (Rhode Island Red).
Here they are all grown up, jamming on some spent grain from a batch of Dan’s homebrew. They don’t really care about anything but food and will love you forever if you give them treats:
This is a comparison of our hens’ eggs (left) next to a free-range organic egg from our local natural foods store (right). The difference in yolk color (and overall flavor!) is pretty striking. This is a picture of two of the first eggs hatched, so they’re a bit smaller:
If you’ve been thinking about keeping chickens, I encourage you to learn as much as possible and go for it! The hardest part about getting started is designing the coop to both safely house the hens and not break your back during cleaning and maintenance. Everything else from there is either pretty straightforward or a tremendous learning experience, and there are more online and real life resources than ever before to support your chicken wrangling endeavors. One of my favorite resources is www.backyardchickens.com Forum veterans have answered so many questions and provided me with solid advice as we go through the learning curve. I have a greater appreciation for urban homesteading, the cycle of life, and food sourcing since we’ve started caring for our little flock. And it’ll be really tough to ever have to buy eggs from the grocery store again!