Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to my urban chicken raising adventure!

"So do you live in some rural part of Los Angeles" is usually the first question I get when I tell people that I have decided to raise chickens in my backyard.  (I don't, I live in Silver Lake).  I also get questions about the size of my yard (small), whether raising chickens is legal in Los Angeles (it is, see:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/los-angeles-california-chicken-ordinance), whether I have any experience raising chickens (I've never even touched one), and, most commonly, "why do you want chickens?"  This last question is almost always accompanied by a "chickens are really smelly" comment.  Nonetheless, it is a fair question.

I was introduced to the idea of backyard chickens by an uber-hip friend who raised chickens first in the mission district of San Francisco and now in Oakland.  (This fact single-handedly won my support for him dating my dear college roommate - though many reasons followed, obviously).  At the time, I lived in a small apartment sans yard, and then in a bigger apartment with a yard but also with an evil and controlling landlord who tried to get my dog put down, so chickens were out of the question.  But life circumstances brought Dan and myself to Los Angeles where we became proud owners of a small, 100 year-old bungalow in Silver Lake, with a small yard and no landlords!  Shortly after we moved in, we visited my oldest sister who was working on an organic farm in San Diego county, complete with fruit trees, gardens, goats, and (you guessed it) chickens!

I was intrigued the moment I saw the chicken coop guarded from coyotes by two llamas.  I was sold the moment I tasted my first farm fresh egg.  I was never turning back the moment I learned how healthy farm fresh eggs are, and how wonderful chickens can be as pets.

So I raced home (ok, after a stop at Stone Brewery - yum), and immediately order "A Chicken In Every Yard:  The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping."  I highly recommend this book for anyone starting out.  I knew absolutely nothing about chickens (I wasn't even sure whether you need a rooster to promote laying - you don't), and by the end of this book, I felt confidant and equipped to raise my own flock.

Step 1 -  convince my amazingly supportive boyfriend that we should get chickens.  This wasn't too hard - Dan is used to my crazy.  I once sent him a picture of a puppy that I just rescued from a gypsy, hippy bus, and 3 and a half years later Eddy is an irreplaceable member of our pack  . . .  (despite Dan's allergies to dogs).

Step 2 - order my chickens . . .  (post to follow)

So this is my story of raising hip chicks in Silver Lake.  Not that this is an original story.  It turns out urban backyard chickens is trending right now.  I even found (and joined) a meetup group of others in the greater Los Angeles area raising chickens (LA Urban Chicken Enthusiasts - if you are interested).  I'm not pretending that this blog will offer a novel perspective, or that I'm the next Julie of Julie & Julia.  What this blog will offer is a space for my friends and family to direct my obsessive debates of medicated v. organic starter feed, 2 v. 3 hens, pine shavings v. newspaper, and other endless chicken keeping debates.  And, hopefully, this will keep me from posting endless pictures and comments of my "babies" on Facebook (so not appropriate).  And so it begins . . . !


  1. Sounds like you are the hip chick. -D

  2. I heard that after 3 years the chickens will, sadly, become infertile. When that happens, the chicken coop will have to become chicken soup!