These days, people are really getting closer to their food source – whether for fun, community, food safety, or environmental impact – and that means lots of homegrown veggies, herbs in the kitchen windowsill, CSA’s and farmer’s markets. The next step for many people right now is… raising chickens!
That’s right, chickens – from rural side lots to urban back yards, chickens take up little space and provide fresh eggs – that’s food so “local” that it doesn’t travel further than your back yard to your sauté pan. Droppings in wood shavings can be added to your compost bin, or if your chickens are free-range, can be left right in the yard where they fall!
All of the above notwithstanding, raising chickens might be worth it for the entertainment value alone. Whether kept for eggs, meat, or just as pets, chickens are a fun addition to the yard. When we aired Episode 115 Living Homegrown Fresh in Season One, one element of the show that resonated with our viewers more than we expected was Theresa’s city chickens. Charlotte the Polish hen nearly stole the spotlight, and let’s just say we won’t be surprised if she gets her own show.
In this episode, Theresa and Joe talk about how anyone can get started with raising chickens, which includes checking your local ordinances, a little research into breeds, where to get chicks and how to care for them, building or buying a coop, and what it takes to care for your chickens. Chef Nathan cooks up delicious, fresh eggs three ways: fancy shirred eggs for brunch, quick scrambled eggs, and perfectly “over medium” fried eggs.
For more information:
- The most popular website for backyard chicken information: backyardchickens.com
- Building Chicken Coops for Dummies, by Todd Brock
- American Livestock Breed Conservancy (ALBC)
- My Pet Chicken is the site Joe mentions that sells as few as 3 chicks at a time
- Sand Hill Preservation Center – Heirloom seeds AND poultry breeds!
- The HenCam.com
- “Henside the Beltline” Chicken Coop Tour, Raleigh, NC
- GardenFowl.com – Seattle Area Chicken Coop Tours
- Theresa’s chicken coop is from GreenChickenCoop.com
- Chef Nathan recipes from this episode, Eggs Three Ways
- Joe Lamp’l blog post Sometimes You Need to Ruffle a Few Feathers
- The fancy red coop with all the bells and whistles
- The Chicken Whisperer with Andy Schneider – online radio show
*Unfortunately, since this show aired, The City Chicken is no longer available. Google your local county laws about keeping chickens in your backyards.