About a year ago, my sister Anne told me she wanted to get chickens. We live in a city. A small one, but a city none the less. I believe I promptly replied by telling her she was nuts. I’m not sure how long it took me for that thought to later sink in and start eating away at me. I realized I wanted chickens too. The feeling grew and grew until I had no choice: I had to have them…

So I went down to the fabulous Central Library downtown on my lunch break and checked out every chicken-keeping book they had. The one I highly recommend is Keep Chickens!: Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and other Small Spaces, by Barbara Kilarski. We went on the Annual Tour de Coops, and I was hooked. In no time at all, I was out there in the pooring Portland rain, fingers numb, power tools in hand. It’s a wonder I didn’t electrocute myself.

I managed to construct a 4′ x 8′ chicken coop which included a cozy hen house and a dry, covered run. Think of the breezeway at your grade school. You and your classmates would hang out, chat about nothing, and play four square. That is the basic gist of the covered run. The girls love to chat it up. The fabulous setup even has a convenient “egg door” on one side that allows me to collect the eggs without going in and out of the coop.

Mind you, I have never so much as screwed two pieces of wood together. Yet the structure stands. A little shabby, but the girls don’t seem to mind.

Enter chickens: Pearl, Hazel, Winifred (Winnie for short). I adopted them off Craig’s List, which is pretty much like winning the local lottery. Many attempts failed. My fingers just couldn’t type fast enough to beat out other chick-hungry-city-dwellers. We boxed them up, brought them home, and they have been our constant entertainment ever since. Plan to hear more about “the girls”.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson