BCChickens1

BCChickens1
Photo credit: Tracy Halladay

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wintering Backyard Chickens


KSL Article on Wintering Backyard Chickens



KSL wrote an online article yesterday about keeping your chickens healthy during the winter.




Keeping the snow out of the run and the wind off the chickens is my priority.  It is easily done by wrapping the run in plastic and leaving some room at the top for air flow.  


Now with Christmas Lights!




One of the best things I have done this year is buying a heater for their water.  I picked one up at Amazon.com because I had a gift card, you can usually buy them locally at farm stores such as IFA or Cal Ranch. The metal waterer that I have has a built in thermostat and turns on at 38 degrees...how nice is that!  No more frozen water!
Little Giant 125 Watt Water Heater Base  HB125








Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ugly Side of Chickens

This time of year brings the ugly side of chickens.  Most of my hens are molting.  Molting is an annual process where chickens lose their feathers and new ones grow in place.  One thing I have noticed is that the older the hens are, the less they molt.  Some of my oldest hens are molting very little or not at all.  I have also noticed that they do not like to be held while molting.  I wonder if it is uncomfortable as those feathers grow out.  
Henrietta our leghorn mid-molt
It looks painful to have those feathers coming through the skin.

Sam has lost feathers around neck and back.
 One other problem with molting is egg production stops.  That's only a problem for us that want eggs, the hens need all the strength and nutrients to be invested in feather creation.  I know the new feathers will help them in the cold winter but I find it interesting that they don't lose the feathers earlier.  It has already started to get cold here!  If you notice from this last picture, I have already wrapped their run with plastic sheeting and stapled it to the supports.  Here is a close up of the run.

This keeps the wind off them, keeps the snow out when it comes and keeps them a bit warmer.  I leave a space at the top for air flow.  It's interesting in the winter, there will be several feet of snow around them, I'll open the door to feed them and they'll look outside and and want no part of it.  They don't even want to venture out in the cold!

A side note about my herb garden in front of the chicken's pen.  There is a window arch/keystone at the bottom right of the picture, this was from one of the windows in Lorenzo Snow's house when he settled Brigham City in the mid to late 1800s. (See History).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Doing Double Duty!


One of my brown egg layers decided she wasn't quite done and gave us one more (although smaller) egg.  This is the first time I have seen this in the 4 years or so I have had hens. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Behavior

I love sitting in the backyard watching my hens go around, doing what they do.   A storm came in this afternoon and the girls went to their favorite spot under the lilacs to keep out of the rain.  They go to this spot for shade and for protection when something menacing is flying around overhead.



My wife got me a nice Adirondack chair for Christmas a while back.  I find watching the hens in the backyard quite relaxing.  Usually when I sit in that chair, they expect treats and are quick to come visit me and see what I have for them, usually an old piece of bread or handful of scratch.

Shortly after we got hens, I found them in my wife's flower garden doing something that surprised me.  They were digging holes and rolling around in them...I thought they were insane.  I seriously thought something was wrong with them.  Well, I found out this is completely normal.  Maybe it is part of why some people consider them 'dirty'.  the interesting thing is, as they roll around in dirt, it is called a dust bath and actually cleans them and keeps mites and bugs from living on them. 

video

Another interesting thing to observe with chickens is the pecking order.  My oldest hen is quite the mother although none of them are her young.  If she gets something particularly yummy to eat, she'll pick it up, set it down, cluck a few times, pick it up, put it down and cluck a few times and will keep doing that until the others come over to check it out.  She'll usually at that point leave it for one of the other hens to eat. 

In the pecking order, someone has to be on bottom, it has been whatever hen I added last.  Now I know adding one hen to an existing flock is difficult and sometimes dangerous as you upset that order.  There are some ways to minimize the effects of that.  I'm happy to say, just this week, the hen that was added last is now accepted on the roost with all the other girls.  This is a good thing!

I learned something about their behavior when they lay eggs as well.  Often when they are done laying eggs you will hear clucking.  I always wondered what that was all about.  I thought perhaps it was that they were happy that they laid or perhaps it was painful (an egg is large in proportion to body size)!   I read somewhere that it is a way for a hen who spent the last hour on a nest to reassociate with the flock.  Think of it this way, out in nature, the flock wanders around together eating and one of the hens sits down under a bush to lay an egg.  The flock just doesn't sit and wait for her, they keep moving around.  But they are social creatures and travel for the most part together.  When the laying hen is done, she needs to communicate (sometimes loudly) to the rest of the flock so they can get back together.

As you just sit and watch them, you'll be surprised at the social nature of these birds and their characteristics.  I have a mixed flock of 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Leghorn, 1 black orpington, 1 Ameracauna and 1 Polish.  I like the variety.  I find the characteristics and personalities of each breed fascinating as well.

Sam-I-Am (green egg laying Ameracauna)

Henrietta (Leghorn)

Rosie (Rhode Island Red/Mother hen of the flock)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fly Tying

My son likes to fly fish, he has tied his own flies for several years.  There is a growing trend among beauty shops of weaving feathers in to hair...  This has taken a dramatic hit on the feather industry which has traditionally supplied fly tying supply shops.  As the feathers are selling to the beauty shops for more money, fly tyers are finding their shops are short on feathers.  This has ruffled some feathers by sportsmen (pun intended).

Anyway, I thought I would share this with you just for fun...

http://www.moldychum.com/home-old/2011/5/25/this-hair-fly-feather-thing-has-officially-gone-too-far.html


Just so you know that I'm not making this up:

Steven Tyler Best Celebrity Feather Hair Extensions People picture

It looks like the newly approved ordinance made front page of the Box Elder News Journal!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Put On Your Party Hats!


http://www.nataliedee.com/062907/

http://www.bierboothaus.com/product/60217/Plush-Oktoberfest-Chicken-Hat.html


Its official! Brigham City now allows residential chickens! City Planner, Mark Bradley says, "The Council approved the ordinance to allow chickens. We have prepared the application for the permit. It has not been posted on the web site yet. A copy can be picked up here at the office." Check the city's website in the future for the official code so you know what is required!

Mr. Bradley has supplied me with a PDF document that contains the permit application, the city ordinance and various articles giving helpful information for the chicken owner.  Click here to download the packet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

City Council Meeting Thursday 5/19/2011

Mark Bradley, Brigham City Planner will go before the commission to discuss amendments to the city code allowing residential chickens Thursday night 5/19. The agenda is available for viewing/download here. The meeting starts at 7pm, per the agenda, the chicken ordinance will be discussed approximately 7:55...keep in mind that is just a guide and it can be earlier or later. Below is the specific items as listed in the agenda:

7:55 1. Amendment to the following Titles and Chapters in the City Code to Allow "Keeping of Residential Chickens:"

• Title 29 Zoning, Chapter 29.12 Residential and Multiple Residential Districts to Include "Keeping of Residential Chickens"
• Title 29 Zoning, Chapter 29.05 Supplementary and Qualifying Regulations to Include Regulations Governing the Keeping of Residential Chickens, and Title 4 Animals and Fowl, Chapter 4.03 Licensure and Regulatory Permits to Reference "Keeping of Residential Chickens -Mark Bradley


I'm hoping when the items are presented and discussed it can go for a final vote and become official.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Salt Lake Screening of "Mad City Chickens"

As part of Chicken Week at Wasatch Community Gardens, "Mad City Chickens" will be shown in Salt Lake City at the Tower Theater (876 East 900 South) at 7pm on June 20.  I would like to see a screening here in Brigham city after the ordinance passes successfully as well...maybe at the theater at the Bear River Bird Refuge...I haven't discussed it with them but it would be a great venue!

Below is an article from the most recent issue of Hobby Farms 'Chickens!' Magazine, here is a link as well:

http://blog.tarazod.com/2011/05/articlereview-of-our-film-in-hobby.html

(Click on image of article to view original size)

Here are some youtube links of trailers for the film:

Clarification on Ordinance Approval

My appologies about my last post.  I spoke with Mark Bradley the Brigham City Planner about the minutes from that city council meeting.  He clarified what happened.  The 3-1 approval was to proceed with finishing the ordinance and have him come back for city council approval.  This will probably happen later this month (May).  Mr. Bradley will need to put the finishing touches on the ordinance and develop the registration form.  He felt it should pass with majority commission approval.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

City Council Approval

A vote was taken and it passed 3 to 1!  The city council minutes look like they are from the March 17th meeting.  I posted what was listed in the Box Elder News Journal previously, but they didn't indicate a vote was taken.

The pertinant text is below.

Consideration to Allow Chickens in Residential Neighborhoods
Mr. Bradley approached the Council and explained that will affect two titles of the City Code – Title 29, Zoning, which would make reference to allow chickens in residential zones, and regulated in Title 4, Animals and Fowl. There would be a $10 permit fee that must be renewed every two years. If the Council agrees to proceed with this, Mr. Bradley will bring back an ordinance for approval.

Chief Tittensor stated that he is opposed to allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods, mainly because the Police Department is not equipped to enforce it. There is a $10 registration fee, but there are no penalties for not registering. Nor is there any penalty for having too many chickens. He was concerned what will happen if there is a chicken running at large, and where they will be placed if they are caught. Mayor Fife felt there should be some kind of penalty if citizens do not comply with the ordinance. Councilmember Ericson felt that citizens are going to have chickens whether there is an ordinance or not, so an ordinance will track them.

MOTION:
Councilmember Ericson made a motion stating that the Council supports the idea of an ordinance allowing and regulating chickens in residential zones, and requested staff to bring the ordinance back to the Council with regulations and penalties if the regulations are not enforced. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Jensen. Councilmember Ericson, Councilmember Jensen and Councilmember Marabella voted aye. Councilmember Vincent voted nay. The motion carried 3-1.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Tour de Coops

For several years now, Wasatch Gardens in Salt Lake has sponsored an annual "Tour de Coops" in Salt Lake.  This has focused on people with interesting (and diverse) coops for their urban chickens in the downtown, University and Sugarhouse areas.  We went last year and didn't have time to see them all.  To make things more difficult, this year they are expanding and will have two seperate tours.  One for "Downtown" and one for "South Valley" (anything south of 2700 South).

This was very fun for the whole family.  We saw large coops, small coops, coops from reclaimed lumber, doors, windows and professionally built coops.  It is great if you are looking for ideas on how to upgrade your own hen's living quarters. 

Below are some that I took pictures of last year (Click on photos to see them full-sized):





Here is one I didn't take the picture of but wish that I had.  It was a very interesting hen house!

The South Valley Tour will be June 18th.  The 6th annual Downtown Tour will be the following Saturday June 25th.  For more information and to register for these tours go visit Wasatch Gardens Events page and scroll down to the June events or click the links I have added below:


These events are all good for beginners as well as seasoned chicken gurus!  Go, take your family and enjoy some of these community-oriented events...you'll be glad you did.  Maybe Brigham City will have our own some day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

City Council


The Brigham City Council had their first discussion about residential chickens on Tuesday March 29.  This was their first formal discussion although I have discussed the matter personally with several council members.

The Box Elder News Journal reported in the March 30 edition, "Police Chief Paul Tittensor is concerned about the chicken policy because of the lack of regulations and a punishment in the request."

I don't agree with that since the punishment would be the same as any other punishment for pet owners listed in the current city code.  There shouldn't be a need for a seperate punishment for offending chicken owners.

According to the News Jornal Chief Tittensor went on to say, "I don't think Brigham City is ready to have chickens because we don't have the means to provide safety for residents.  We only have one Animal Control officer and we would have to hire more."

Here he spoke of two issues, public safety and a budget issue of hiring more staff.

First, "Public Safety":  Serious?  Safety against pet chickens?  I'm sorry, but I think this is just some type of fear tactic...I'm not sure what he is thinking of.

Second, the budget issue of hiring more Animal Control officers; are there really that many of us in Brigham City that more officers would be required?  I don't think so.  I know laws are for the small percentage who don't practice wisdom and prudence, but I can't see the numbers are very large at all.  This is another scare tactic, this time directed at the Mayor and  Council.  The last thing they want to see is expenditures increase.  There is a small part of the ordinance as presented by the planning commission which would require chicken owners to  pay a $10 registry fee every two years.  I wouldn't classify this as a revenue stream but it is something.

If chicken owners are responsible and follow the ordinance odds are their neighbors won't even know they have chickens in their back yard and there will be few if any complaints.  Sharing eggs with your friends can go a long way to promote acceptance.

There was a comment in the article about preventing the spreading of disease.  Just like any animal owner, chicken owners would be responsible for this as well.  There are MANY websites out there with great resources and information for keeping your flock healthy.  Here is one by the USDA.  You can download a PDF of a 2011 "Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping Your Birds Healthy" Calendar on their site or directly by clicking on the previous link.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

City Council to Meet This Week!

The city council is meeting this week.  One of the items to be disucssed will be the chicken ordinance.  They are meeting Thursday the 17th at 7pm.  Please come to support this effort!  The planning commission passed it with 3-2 votes, I have heard there is opposition from the city police department. 

Here is a link to the agenda for Thursday's meeting:  Agenda

"Where ever chickens are outlawed only outlaws will have chickens!"


Update 3/24/2011


Brigham City has not yet posted minutes from the city council meeting on the 17th.  I have not heard if a decision has been made and when it will go into effect.  If anyone has an update, please post below!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eggs!

In celebrating the fact that my 6 lovely hens gave us 5 lovely eggs today I thought I would write a bit about one of the biggest advantages of having hens...EGGS!

A 5 egg day is a good thing

I have a mix of breeds, which gives me a mix of colors and size of eggs.  I get big white eggs from a leghorn (her name is Henrietta, we call her Hen).  Leghorns were specifically bread for egg production.  She's consistent and the eggs are large...I mean larger than the store's jumbo size eggs.  I get brown eggs from Rosie and Red (both Rhode Island Reds).  I get brown eggs from Wheezy, who is a Black Orpington.  I get skinny white eggs from Olga, our Polish hen...she doesn't lay often.  Her breed isn't a laying breed, and she's old...so we're just happy when she lays for us.  Last of all, I get green eggs from Sam (aka Sam-I-Am).  She is an Ameraucana or some call them easter eggers.  She has a beard and is quite pretty despite the fact that breeders consider them mutts as they are often a wide mix of different breeds.

I want to share a great resource I used when I was researching various breeds trying decide which kinds of chickens to get.  Different breeds come in different sizes, have different personality traits, cold hardiness characteristics, and egg production qualities.  Click on the following link for "Henderson's Handy-Dandy Chicken Chart".  You will be amazed to learn the differences.  Some people say not to mix breeds as they may not get along.  Maybe I'm lucky.  Mine get along...  Having said that, just like people, I recognize I have hens with very different personalities, some are bossy, some stick to themselves, some are sweeter and some are more flighty (scared).

Rosie checking out a load of dirt

Raising your own hens can give you an ongoing supply of eggs.  Just like much in life, the more you put into something the better the outcome.  If you feed your hens right, keep them with fresh water and keep them happy (including enough room to play) you will be very happy with their egg production AND the quality of the eggs (see link above-don't expect an egg a day from a breed that can't deliver).  Think of it this way, if you average 3 eggs a day, that is 21 eggs per week!  That is almost 2 dozen per week!  Not shabby.  One other factor that weighs heavy in egg production is the amount of light a hen receives.  Commercial producers have lights on their hens day and night.  I have read a bit about this and the excessive light tends to burn the hen out and shorten her life.  As the seasons change, egg production decreases during the winter months with shorter daylight hours.  Hens moult (they stop laying and loose feathers), this is a time of rejuvination for them...its like their system does a reboot...yes, I work in IT.  But they come out of this ugly time productive and healthier.  Spring and summer come, days are longer and hens will produce more eggs.

BackYardChickens.com

Since I've moved on to eggs and breakfast, you should know that the USDA just released a report earlier this year that states eggs are 14% lower in cholesterol and more vitamin D than previously thought.  So enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Please support the cause- Public Hearing tonight (Tuesday 3/1/11)

Tonight's the night for the 2nd and probably final public hearing with the city Planning Commission.  My guess is final touches will be put on the draft code (see previous blog post), public input will be allowed (pro and con) and then it will go to a vote by the planning commission.  Unfortunately, my personal life calendar and my work calendar did not interface in my mind and I will be unable to attend the meeting because I will be doing a phone system upgrade at work.  I have heard rumors that the police will be at the meeting to speak against having a code.  They probably perceive them as nuisance animals.  Unfortunately that is a misconception.  Dogs are noisier and smellier, cats can seldom be kept only in an owners yard.  I just think that chickens are not a big threat. 

The ordinance should be welcomed by city personnel because it gives them the capacity to control the households with chickens based on rules of the ordinance.  Without it they are stuck with a vaguely written code (see portion of city code below) which I easily interpreted as allowing home owners to possess them.

TITLE 4. ANIMALS AND FOWL
1
Chapter 4.01. Definition of Terms.
Terms set out in this chapter have the meaning designated when used in this title unless otherwise
indicated by the context.
1. Animal. Any and all types of livestock, dogs and cats, and all other subhuman creatures, both
domesticated and wild, male and female, singular and plural.
2. Animal Boarding Establishment. Any establishment that takes in animals and boards them for
profit.
3. Animal Grooming Parlor. Any establishment maintained for the purpose of offering cosmetology
services for animals at a profit.
4. Animal Shelter. Any facility owned and operated by a governmental entity or any animal welfare
organization which is incorporated within the State of Utah for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals
and used for the care and custody of seized, stray, homeless, quarantined, abandoned, or unwanted dogs,
cats, or other domestic animals.
5. Animals at Large. An animal shall be considered to be “at large” when it is off the owner’s
property and not under immediate control, by means of a durable restraint device capable of keeping the
animal restrained; OR an animal that is on the property of the owner and not securely confined by a leash,
building, fenced area, or appropriate transport device.
6. Bite. Any actual puncture, tear, or abrasion of the skin inflicted by the teeth of an animal.
7. Cat. Any age feline, of the domestic type.
8. Cattery. Land or building used in the keeping of three (3) or more cats, six (6) months or older.
9. Dog. Any Canis Familiaris over six (6) months of age. Any Canis Familiaris under the age of six
(6) months is a puppy.
10. Domesticated Animals. Animals accustomed to living in or about the habitation of man, including
but not limited to cats, dogs, rabbits, fowls, horses, swine, goats, sheep, mules, donkeys, lamas, and cattle.
11. Government Working Dog. A dog trained to assist officials of government agencies in law
enforcement exercises.
12. Guide Dog. A dog trained and certified by a nationally recognized training establishment to assist
persons that are “visually-impaired,” “hearing-impaired,” or ”mobility-limited.”
13. Kennel. Land or buildings used in the keeping of three (3) or more dogs older than four (4)
months.
14. Livestock. Any normally domesticated animal that is ordinarily kept on a farm, such as cattle,
swine, sheep, goats, mules, burros, horses, geese, ducks, turkeys, llamas, etc.
15. Owner. Any person or persons, firm association or corporation or other entity owning, keeping
or harboring the animal in question, or any person having charge, care, custody or control of such animal.
16. Pet. Any animals ordinarily permitted in Brigham City residences and kept for the company or
pleasure of Brigham City residents, such as domesticated dogs, domesticated cats, and domesticated birds.
Pets also include tropical fish, amphibians, reptiles, or invertebrates of a number that do not constitute a health
hazard or nuisance, and can be safely and humanely kept in aquariums, cages, or enclosures, the cumulative
size of which shall not exceed fifty (50) cubic feet per household. Pets shall not include exotic, pygmy, or
dwarf variations of animals defined as either “wild animals” or “livestock,” including but not limited to, miniature
horses, pygmy goats, and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, notwithstanding that such animals may be kept as
household pets by residents of other communities.
2

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Public Input at Next Planning Commission Meeting

The Brigham City Planning Commission is meeting Tuesday,  March 1st at 6:30pm.  This meeting is open to the public and will be held in the city council chambers (up stairs) at city hall.  I believe in this meeting they will be putting the final touches on the code.  If you would like a peak at the DRAFT of the code please click here: Brigham City Chicken Ordinance DRAFT.  This is a PDF document so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

Since there is discussion in this ordinance about the number of chickens limited to the lot size, I thought I'd give you some resources on chicken tractors.  I know that is an odd sounding term, but it is infact the name of chicken housing that is portable.  These can be used in large enterprises and drug around a farm by a ...yes, tractor.  Or they can be small enough and built on wheels that people can keep a few hens in their back yard and give the chickens fresh grass to eat without destroying their lawn.  Just roll the tractor a few feet away each day or two to a new spot of ground and you are good to go.

Two resources (besides googling for images of 'chicken tractors') that I have found for getting an idea of what these devices are like are the following links:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ordinances in Cities Nearby

I post the following link because you may have seen it in the news. 
Riverdale rejects chicken ordinance - ksl.com

One thing to keep in mind, when a city rejects an ordinance defining chickens as being allowed in residential areas some people will still have them...either out of ignorance, or because the existing code does not specifically prohibit them or they go underground and if there are no complaints from neighbors and the city does nothing about it.  I don't advocate doing what is prohibited by your city.  In Brigham City, the current code specified "Domesticated Fowl" under the definition of a pet.  When I first got my chickens I looked at the code and made my decisions so as to be in alignment with how our ordinances were written.

Here is a matrix of Utah communities ordinances to show how cities are stacking up in regard to urban chickens:


Utah Communities Backyard Chicken Ordinances
CityAllowedQtyRoosters?Notes
LaytonYes6NoQuantity depends on lot size
MoabYes12No
OgdenNo
ProvoYes6NoQuantity depends on lot size
RiverdaleNo
RoyNo
Salt Lake CityYes15NoNo lot size restriction
Salt Lake CountyYes8-10NoDepends on residential zoning area.  50 allowed in A-1 agricultural areas
TremontonYesTremonton was rewriting code last year to allow chickens in all residential neighborhoods.  I have not seen the written code yet.
Woods CrossYes8NoQuantity depends on lot size

Just added:
Spanish Fork    Yes           6           No                Quantity depends on lot size


If you would like to download the specific codes that I have please click here.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the downloaded document.

If you have specific codes for other utah communities, I would love to have a copy.  Please contact me and I will add them to the list.

Photo Credit: Tracy Halladay

Monday, February 7, 2011

Housing Your Chickens

I thought I'd write a little about how to house your chickens.  Chickens don't require much and can take up very little space.  Plus, their house and run can be made to compliment your yard.  There are a few things that your chickens need to be happy and healthy.  Below are guidelines, you can find more specifics online.  check out the resources on the right side of this page.
  1. Hen house- an enclosed area with roosts where your chickens sleep. - Minimum 2 square feet per bird.  Most of the chicken droppings happen at night so be careful not to put roosts above and below each other.
  2. Nest boxes- Usually inside the hen house or built on the adjacent to the hen house with access from the outside. - about 18 square inches per bird, one box for every 3 birds (They'll share)
  3. Run- this is the play area where the chickens spend time while they are awake. - at least 5 square feet per bird
These structures should be made to fit where you live.  In Utah, we get quite a bit of snow in winter and some wind.  We want to protect the hens from that.  Some areas have preditors that dig and can get into the chickens by digging under the sides of the structure.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not very skilled at building things.  The first structure I built was a mobile "Chicken Tractor".  A Chicken Tractor is a coop/run combo that can be moved around the yard or garden. This 'A' frame coop had a house and nest boxes in one end and the run in the other.  It was 8 feet long by 4 feet wide.  The hen house was 3 feet long and the run 5 feet.  The chickens were happy and comfortable.  If you feel uneasy building something yourself you can find sources online for similar structures.  One site that was recently recommended to me is http://www.thelittlechickenfactory.com/.  Their tractors look lightweight, easy to move and well built.



I made my tractor out of scrap wood and it lasted about 3 years until I decided I wanted something a little better looking in my yard.  Again, I have virtually no skills in carpentry so I wanted something easy and inexpensive.  I saw many hen houses online that looked like a childs play house.  I thought that looked nice in the yard.  One spring I ran into a play house kit at Lowes.  I showed my wife and she agreed it was attractive.  The price was more than I was ready to spend so I kept looking.  Later that fall we stumbled on it again at Lowes and it was on closeout for $75.  I couldn't buy the materials for that price!  We took the kit home and I built it and painted it.  On the left and right sides the walls have windows...I turned one wall upside down when building it and that window became a door for the chickens to enter their run.

I converted the 'A' frame tractor I built into a run and butted it up against the side of the newly built hen house and now my hens had more space and I had a hen house which was easier to clean AND it was better looking in my back yard.  The chickens don't need much headroom so they were plenty happy.  Now to clean the run, all I did was tip it up on its end away from the hen house and shovel out whatever there was and dump it in my compost. 

The aging 'A' frame was not holding up after 3 years of use and I decided I really wante a run large enough for me to stand in.  This would make run cleaning easier and would improve the yard look another notch.  So I began scouring the internet looking for ideas.  I took my family and we attended Salt Lake City's Tour De Coops in the spring.  This is a self guided tour that you take and visit yards of fellow chicken owners in Salt lake City.  Yes, Salt lake City allows chickens.  Their ordinance is quite liberal as well!  We saw many beautiful chicken houses and had a great day.  Now, at this point I decided to solicit the help of my best friend who spent many years as a carpenter and home builder.  I drew out on paper roughly what I wanted to build and we took a shopping trip to Home Depot.  We built it in about one afternoon.  It ran about $200 for the materials.

The options are endless and you can do something that fits your yard and what you want to accomplish.


Here is a list of housing resources that may be of interest to you:
http://www.omlet.co.uk/ (Great Britain)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Planning Commission Meeting

The Brigham City Planning Commission met last night (2/1/2011) and had its first public comment discussion on a city ordinance to specifically allow chickens within residential zoning.  My son and I were the only public who attended.

The commission had reviewed many city ordinances from cities along the Wasatch front who allow chickens and are taking the codes to build their own ordinance.  They spent most of the time going through each section coming up with wording that was agreeable to all.  They will hold an additional public comment meeting on March 1st.

Commissioner Larry Jensen was the only one to say he was opposed to an ordinance.  He said he feels they are farm animals and should not be allowed in the city. 

Items in the ordinance will be:
  • Quantity of chickens (hens only) dependant on lot size
  • size of coop
  • set back from property line
  • upkeep
  • registration (per household not per hen...once every 2 years)

This is a step in the right direction to protect the city and those who have chickens. 

I would like to see other chicken owners get involved in the public discussion to provide constructive input.  Some things that people may not understand are:
  • Chickens are quieter than dogs
  • they don't roam the neighborhood like cats
  • they require very little room for habitation
  • they are inexpensive to feed and care for.
  • they are domesticated animals (Gallus domesticus)
  • they have been domesticated for about 8000 years (see Barbara West, Ben-Xiong Zhou, Did chickens go North? New evidence for domestication, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 15, Issue 5, September 1988, Pages 515-533, ISSN 0305-4403, DOI: 10.1016/0305-4403(88)90080-5.
    (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=624516)
  • receiving eggs or meat from chickens is a good lesson for families to understand where their food comes from and what is required to provide it.
  • historically families had chickens (often known as yardbirds) to provide for needs of the family.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to the BrighamCityChickens Blog!

This blog is being made to provide information to residents of Brigham City, Utah about having chickens as pets and raising them for eggs. I hope many other people become involved in posting comments and providing information that is beneficial.

The best thing we can do is provide a good experience so our friends and neighbors can see that chickens are indeed pets, they are quiet, and they are clean.