When we first considered building a coop and getting chickens in our backyard, Pinterest painted a romantic illusion. Beautifully crafted farmhouse coops with automatic doors, free ranging birds, fresh colorful eggs in baskets, what’s not to love? In reality, having an urban backyard farm is a little less romantic than we anticipated, but has brought our family much more joy and connection than we ever imagined possible.
We took on this adventure as a way to become more mindful of the quality of food we were putting in to our bodies. Friends of ours helped turn us onto the idea. They had loved eating their fresh farm eggs daily, and often shared their abundance with friends and family for favors in return. Soon after tasting their eggs, we put our names on the list at our local feed and farm store for six pullets, and starting constructing our coop. When it was time to bring the girls home (before our coop was complete) we received four Isa Brown and two White Plymouth Rock chickens. They were around four months old at the time, and getting ready to lay. It took a couple of weeks for us to find our rhythm, and for them to settle in before we received our first egg! But once they began laying, lifting the lid of the nesting box each day felt like opening presents on Christmas morning. The novelty still just doesn’t ware off.
There’s something therapeutic about tending to chickens and their coop. It’s forced us to slow down in the mornings. We wake up early, put on our boots, and get outside into the yard. Our chores include filling the water trough, making sure they have ample food in the feeder and collecting the little presents they so graciously leave us each morning. Scooping their poop from the coop is somehow even satisfying, knowing we have created a safe, comfortable and clean shelter for them to sleep and lay in.
It’s a very gratifying process, knowing our chickens are feeding on our kitchen scraps, whose waste fuels our veggie garden, while laying eggs to feed our family.
We especially enjoy watching our two-year-old son connect with the animals, and teaching him the responsibilities of feeding the hens, making sure they have clean fresh water daily and cleaning out their coop.
Henrietta, Yoda, Doug, Yolko Ono, Thelma & Louise – each with their own unique personalities, have become more like our pets and extensions of our family. After getting to know and care for these gals over the past six months, we couldn’t be happier with our decision, realizing there’s much more reward than work involved in raising our hens.