Hen Instructions

Movin’ On Up

April 10, 2012 , In: Backyard Chickens, Gardening , With: 10 Comments
0

Backyard chickens are all the rage these days.  Articles and stories about how to tuck a hen or ten into your city yard are popping up like eggs at Easter.  A good number of these are written by people who seem to still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Good Fairy (you know, that magical creature that trims your perfect lawn with manicure scissors at night while you sleep).

Out here in our Northern California city yard, we’ve become a tad snarky about these publications when they come our way.  There’s a good bit of snorting tea up our noses while trying to drink and read about how easy it is to pop a couple of hens in your beautiful yard.  Heck, why not more?  The major hatcheries will send you 25 little fuzz balls faster than you can say “the sky is falling”.

Hen Instructions

They’ll just scratch daintily and poop politely where you put out your little “fertilize here signs”, right?

Let’s have a reality review……

When our little birds arrived, I had grand plans for a cute little fence that would indicate the Mason-Dixon Line between their yard and mine.

IMG-20110531-00051

The hens saw this as a cute purple hurdle, appropriate for daily calisthenics.  Didn’t even need to flap their clipped wings very hard.

I have fond memories of fresh Kale right from the garden.

vegetable wasteland

Then there was the drip irrigation disaster that launched my first entry in a Link Party.

Blog Irrigation Pic Final

After Mr. Hen Songs started referring to Henny and Penny as “The Little Terrorists” we knew it was time to put some thought into this backyard venture.

Of course chickens take some work, just like any other pet.  I am still convinced that we can live in peace and harmony with these miniature T-Rex and our lovely, bucolic yard.

Introducing the new Hen Songs Gated Community.

IMG-20120409-00056

HOA (Hen Owners Association) benefits include:

  1. A fence high enough and backed with bird netting to keep the little rascals inside.
  2. Raised beds covered with chicken wire to keep their pecky beaks and scratchy claws away from the irrigation lines and lavender roots.
  3. A dusting bin (just a bit over the top but a concession to their love of raised vegetable beds.)
  4. Lovely redwood bark to keep their yard fresh and sweet smelling.

This is day one – I’m still tempted to send a picture to Sunset Magazine, along with a second picture after the girls have had their way with the whole area for a couple of days.  Reality checks are a good thing every now and then.

    • Elena
    • April 13, 2012
    Reply

    Hi, I just found you through Kelly at Eclectically Vintage's page. Your chickens remind me of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Farm-City-Education-Urban-Farmer/dp/1594202214 Have you ever read it? It was fascinating. My brother lives in Berkeley and when I visited he took me on a tour of some of the dumpsters she raided to feed her pig. (He knows how to show his sister a good time 😉

    • Linda
    • April 14, 2012
    Reply

    HI Elena and welcome to my little slice of the San Francisco Bay Area. I haven't read that book! Just put it on my wish list. Your brother sounds so Berkeley 🙂 I was raised there and we're such a special breed!

    Today my husband pointed out that Henny and Penny's new run looks like the book Holes. So much for the neatly raked bark….

    • Eclectically Vintage
    • April 15, 2012
    Reply

    Linda,
    Love their little gated community – does it come with a golf course, pool and tennis court too?
    Kelly

    • Linda
    • April 15, 2012
    Reply

    Ha! It does have the dusting bin (chicken for swimming pool and spa treatment). They haven't read the memo about not liking lavender. A unexpected bonus – we had two little boys visiting today and the fence helped keep all in their own territory. The boys loved gathering eggs and feeding the hens.

  1. I love Henny & Penny but how do you stop those terroristic acts?!

    They need a time out! Maybe you need to make actual signs for those chicks (Don’t Poop, Peck Here…) – but can the girls read?

    So glad you shared their antics at our Outdoors party!
    Kelly

  2. Oh poor Henny and Penny being called terrorists! I love how you’ve corralled them in. But those chickens are clever …

    … so happy you’ve shared with our Great Outdoors link party! And yes I remember your first linky party link too!

    🙂

    Linda

  3. Oh my goodness, that pic of the hens in your kale bed just makes me think they’re definitely ruling the roost!! hahaha Thank you for sharing this too!
    Karah

    • Linda
    • June 2, 2012
    Reply

    Karah – they’re in group therapy about this domination issue….I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

    • Lorring
    • May 21, 2013
    Reply

    Hi Linda-I just moved to Castro Valley from Livermore and I brought my 3 backyard chickens with me. My neighbor is complaining (I am not sure why) and is trying to claim that chickens are not allowed in Castro Valley, I looked it up and it said CV is in unincorporated Alameda County and that three chickens are allowed. I did a Google search and I cannot find the actual code that states that. My neighbor is threatening to sue me so I want to find something to show him. Thanks for your help! Your chickens are super cute!

      • Linda
      • May 21, 2013
      Reply

      Hi Lorring, Glad we’ve chatted. You’re fine with three hens in CV. The rest is up to making sure they’re clean and the location is right. Perhaps your neighbor will be won over with some free eggs :).

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Hello, I'm Linda

I am a City Girl who was raised with backyard gardens and a chicken in every plot.

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