Monday, February 22, 2010

Urban Chickens

A post on The Tangled Nest blog (by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Crow Planet) reminds me how much I miss our chickens.  It's a marvelous piece about building an urban chicken coop (which has been painted in gay shades of green and red and looks thoroughly inviting).

She also offers advice to urban chicken farmers about rats, which was the reason we had to get rid of our chickens (fear not, they went to a happier place, and I do not mean that euphemistically).  They come for the eggs and the chicken feed and finally, there was little we could do but put down traps and poison.  The canyons surrounding Los Angeles are famous for their large ratticus norvegicus populations. Huge families of the things. I'm not really squeamish about them but they are, frankly, a drag.

Our chickens were a mixture of Easter chicks from schoool (yes, we were the nimrods who agreed to look after them "for the weekend"), hand-raised araucana hens and scrappety hens rescued from the pound.  Together, however, they delivered 8 or 9 eggs a day in shades of brown, blue and green.  As we have a family of red-tailed hawks nearby, and of course coyotes and raccoons, it is imperative that the chicken run is completely covered in wire netting.

Now that spring is here, I'm looking forward to hand-raising some more chicks or perhaps following in the steps of my younger brother who has adopted battery hens, with much success.  He didn't knit them sweaters but did have to put a special heat lamp in their coop because of the freezing winter temperatures (and their lack of feathers).

The Rottal Hens (decidedly non-Urban)

If you live in the UK, you can adopt a battery hen here at the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.

If you're in Southern California, you can adopt a hen here at Petfinder.


Z said...

We have to put down rat poison too, unfortunately - but living where we do in a rural area, they were about before we had chickens. At least we don't have raccoons, coyotes or hawks - foxes are quite bad enough. We're very fond of our chickens - when there's a late brood and winter is coming on, they have been known to spend a few months in my big greenhouse.

Mrs L. said...

I miss your chickens too! But mostly I miss their eggs!

Miss Whistle said...

@Z How wonderful to have a greenhouse. We don't really need one here because we don't usually have a frost, but I do miss it. I'll let you know when they're up and running again.

@Mrs L Ditto on the letting you know. I miss the eggs too!


Miss W x