Now, if you recall, we have established that I, Kristin, member of theKband, have a small yard.
As in, VERY small.
But, we do have a yard. And my husband, who grew up on an acreage, wanted to bring some of those “acreage/live off the land” experiences to our kids.
Now, it is important to note that I did not grow up on an acreage.
And, even more assaulting to my family is that I do not like animals. I am scared of dogs (don’t judge) and am having a hard enough time cleaning up after three boys, I am just not able to do the whole pet thing.
We did try, in our defense. We kept a caterpillar once, during my homeschooling days, to watch it turn into a butterfly.
We got the boys fish.
They got new fish.
Do you see a pattern? We didn’t intentionally kill the poor creatures, of course, but mercy, it seemed like we couldn’t keep anything alive.
So, when the boys started asking for a dog, my response was quick and simple: “You can have a dog or you can have me. And I cook.”
After deliberations, they have chosen to keep me.
But, then something happened.
Chickens were starting to pop up in the city. Little chicken coops and chicken runs started to dominate Pinterest.
And word got to my family.
Now, remember, my husband grew up on an acreage. And while he was there, he was that kid that was in 4H and had chickens at the county fair. Nate loved raising chickens. He loved going to Matt and Beth’s house to help with a chicken coop. He started brainstorming of having our own.
The topic was brought up several times at dinners.
I did research. Chickens made great fertilizer for gardens–I like gardens. I like fresh produce. Something in me started thinking about farm fresh eggs.
And then it happened. I caved. We got four chicks.
But, before we purchased them, we did a couple things first. And I think, truly, that these were the most important things that needed to be done for our family, before the chicks came to take residence at TheKband homestead:
- Because we are in town, I did tell our neighbors about our upcoming plans. One neighbor told me she was worried about the smell. I could understand that. Although we wanted chickens, we also wanted to have good relationships with our neighbors. This is a big deal to us. We had planned to have the chicken coop in a side shed which would have been right by her window. I was thankful she was willing to share with us that she would have been uncomfortable about that. We made some adjustments in where the chicken coop would go. We rearranged a couple things and moved our spot for the chickens entirely and put them in the back of the house instead of the side of our home. I felt this was important and I’m glad we did it.
- We found books about raising chickens in town. I’m a reader, so I picked up a couple books by Keely Coyne and Erick Knutzen: Making It–Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World and The Urban Homestead–Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City. I read them and immediately wanted to invite both of them over for pie. I liked the books and they helped me that much.
- We had a very open conversation with our kids about the chickens–they would have to help with them: feed them, water them, etc. But, not only that, chickens don’t live forever. We needed to discuss that with the kids.
- We asked friends for help and council. Beth came bearing some supplies they’d outgrown. We asked our chicken-owning friends how it affected them and their yard. We talked to Nate’s parents who had been through this before.
- We checked out city ordinances. We were allowed to have up to six hens, and we were not allowed to have a single rooster.
I was so glad we’d done the research we did. Because they are work. They are great, but they do take work and I felt like we knew a lot of what we were in for.
If you are thinking of bringing a chicken coop into your backyard, I would encourage you to do some research first. Think of the space you have for them and talk to your neighbors. Ask questions. Observe friends who have them.
And then go for it. We have been chicken owners for over a year now. And I can’t think of a time in our near-future when we wouldn’t be.
It’s pretty grand.