Chicken Coop Tidbits6/07/2009
GREEN FOCUS: Cool Things That Are Green
WILD about the Urban Farm.
Classes about Chickens, Beekeeping and Raising Vegetables seem to be popping up everywhere! Here are some tidbits I picked up at a recent panel on chicken coops at Livingscape Nursery that you might find useful if you're thinking about raising chickens in the city. Don't forget to frequent your local Farmer's Market for the freshest produce next to growing your own. Contact me if you need help laying out your urban farm!
No more than 3 chickens (pygmy goats, rabbits, ducks or pot-bellied pigs) in the city without a permit. No roosters are allowed!
- Locate chickens no closer than 15' from a neighbor's house or accessory living structure. More info on regulations on animals in Multnomah County can be found at: http://www.mchealth.org/vector/nuisance.htm
- Locate chicken runs where drainage is good. Gravel or wood chips can help keep the surface dry and give the chickens something to kick around.
- Protect from sun and wind - the coop can do a good job of that if it is enclosed.
- Prepare for predators: Use heavy gauge wire for the chicken run and cover the top so dogs, raccoons and other predators cannot jump in.
- Prepare for invaders: Other predators (and birds or rodents) can dig under the run to get your chickens (or their food). Be sure to bury heavy gauge hardware cloth or aluminum flashing 12" below the soil line along the edge of the run, or place wire mesh 6" under the surface of the soil in the run itself so as to not harm the tender feet of the chickens.
- Chicken Poop is smelly (really?) - Clean your coop often. Chickens poop most when they are on their roost. Create a droppings pit below the roost that is easy to remove and clean (use an old drawer). Use wood shavings. prunings or straw that can be composted with the chicken manure for use in the garden.
- Flies can be a problem - be sure to hang some fly paper.
- Create air vents in the chicken coop and a little door for the chickens to enter and exit
- Put a light in the hen house so you can see when you are collecting eggs or cleaning the coop. It also can help to add a little heat in the winter.
- Put in a little door so you can access the eggs from the outside, but be able to walk in for easy cleaning
- Chickens and lots of info are available locally at: Livingscape Nursery, Urban Farm Store, Pistils Nursery Check them out for upcoming urban farm classes!
- If you're thinking about building a chicken coop of your own, check out Growing Gardens 6th annual Tour de Coops on Sat., July 25th from 11-3
By: Amy Whitworth, owner of Plan-it Earth Design