Sometime last spring, I got the idea in my head that it would be awesome to raise chickens. For the life of me, I can't remember what prompted the idea, but I haven't been able to get it out of my head ever since. I went to a Chicken 101 class to see if it was something I would enjoy. Still wasn't sold after the class, so I decided to go on Seattle Tilth's Chicken Coop and Urban Farm tour.
What a fun day! When you buy your ticket, you get a map to all of the participating homes and then you just choose the ones to visit that sound best to you. We visited several coops last year and were fully sold on setting up our coop. Flash forward a year...we still don't have a coop and I still have a hankering for chickens.
I'll share some photos from last year's tour and some more information on my own coop dilemma in another post, but in the meantime, here are some photos from this year's tour....
I had the best coop touring buddy in the world...my 5 year old daughter. We donned our most farmer-like hats set off for an afternoon of urban farming adventure.
The first coop we went to see was modeled after a New Orleans French Quarter home. Having been to NOLA many times and been seduced by her many charms, I was eager to see how she would translate to backyard chicken keeping. I was not disappointed...the coop was darling with a great run covered in jasmine-like vines. Black shutters, gingerbread trim and wrought iron accents added lots of "curb appeal." All of the hens also had NOLA related names...the one that sticks out is the yellow one, named Beignet.
The thing that I liked most about this coop though wasn't the architecture, it was the bedding. When I opened the coop, I couldn't help but notice how GOOD it smelled. I later found out the owner uses compostable cocoa shells from Theo Chocolates...what could be better?? Cocoa mulch bags are available at Theo's factory store in Fremont. Ten dollars will get you 30-40 lbs. of mulch. Score! (For those of you outside Seattle, Theo is the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the US. Yes, we are sooo lucky to live here!)
The next coop on the tour was huge. It had been built recently and was gorgeous. There was a stained glass window, french doors and an attached potting shed. Sigh...my own house should have so much charm! This coop was home to eight gorgeous hens who were surprisingly quiet, but perhaps that was because they were gorging themselves on raspberries the whole time.
Coop number three was a quirky little coop that the owners had adopted along with their first hen. They added the shingles themselves and an automatic door opener. Sweet! In addition to the chickens the owners were avid gardeners and beekeepers. (The bee thing intrigues me, yet scares me. I eat honey like it's going out of style, but have historically been terrified of bees...will ponder this conundrum in another post.) The mirror in the run was hilarious...the chickens were all gathered around it when we got there...primping for visitors maybe?
Didn't get the scoop on the toilet bowl planter...honestly, I hope it was just filled with ornamentals...not sure I could bring myself to eat plants grown in it, but I do give them props for creative reuse.
And the award for most playful coop goes to this double decker spotted at Red Star Urban Farms. Not only was the coop stunning, but it had a treehouse on top! It took all the restraint my little girl I had not to climb up and see what was there. ;)
Built by the owners, Michael and Troy, of almost 100% recycled materials, the "gentlemen farmers" as they call themselves set the bar very high for the rest of us wanna-be chickenistas. Be sure to click on the link above to visit their Facebook page for more photos and information about how to contact them if you need help with your coop.
But perhaps, the star of the show wasn't really the chicken coop at all...this bunny killed me!
And last, but not least, Bees City Farm. The property was quite large and most of it was set aside for animals, bees or vegetables. There were two goats...one very pregnant!...lots of ducks and chickens, as well as several bee hives. Loads of veggies were growing all around...urban farming at it's very organic best! Their chicken coop was also very cute...my husband's favorite design.
By the end of the tour we were hot and ready to eat, so we headed over to Golden Gardens for an impromptu picnic. We picked up some treats at Little Coney in Shilshole Bay Marina...they have my absolute favorite chili-cheese fries...then planted ourselves on the beach to watch the sailboats go by. (If you are ever in Seattle, Golden Gardens is a great place to visit...the sunsets are amazing...on the three days of the year that the sun shines...LOL)
So that was our day. Anyone else out there take the tour, have chickens or hope to build a coop anytime soon? I'd love to hear your thougths and experiences, so feel free to leave comments and share links to photos. If you want to keep up with my chicken adventures, you can follow this blog via e-mail or BlogLovin. XOXO, Cindi