Hello, BYC friends. Newbie, here. It didn't take me long to join--I've had my chicks for less than a week and already the threads I have found have been so helpful!
My chicken story might be a little different from the rest. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado, in a very Ag friendly community, but in a neighborhood with an HOA that loves to crush hopes and dreams...this is why my husband and I have decided to start our own "Covert Coop" in our basement. That's right, we'll be keeping our girls indoors, undetected by anyone who is not brought in to the circle of trust.
I can already envision the negative responses and questions I'll get for going about it this way, so let me clarify a few things:
1. We are in the process of building a beautiful (it's Pinterest-worthy!) 40 square foot coop in our basement. This coop, although downstairs, will have plenty of fresh air and sunlight, courtesy of large, open windows on either side. We also have a deep base for the coop, so it can contain pine shavings, mealworms, etc. just like an outdoor coop. Under that deep bed is a tile floor, making cleaning and disinfecting a breeze! Plus we have the added benefits of not worrying about predators, frozen water, frostbitten combs, and everything unpredictable that comes with mother nature.
2. We have a back up plan. Should we be "discovered" our girls will be given to our dear friend who has a (HOA approved) flock of her own in a different part of town.
3. Our girls will be free to roam outside regularly in our backyard to scratch around and dust-bathe themselves to their heart's content. We have huge vinyl fences, and our surrounding neighbors are cool with it (several have secret chickens of their own) so we're not worried about them being seen, but rather being heard by the neighbors a few houses over, who are notorious tattle-tales and like to wander the neighborhood looking for infractions to report. Yes, seriously. With this system, even the best looky-loo would have their work cut out for them, even if they peeked over the fence while we weren't home.
4. Yes, I have asked (begged?) the HOA to change this covenant. I even wrote up a proposed amendment with suggested "rules" of keeping backyard hens. The president of the HOA's response was, "I moved here to get away from chickens--they gross me out." So...yeah.. I will continue to advocate, but you can see it's an uphill battle.
So that's my story, keep it under wraps for me, will ya? And if you are a crazy chicken lady like me, or have a covert flock of your own, I would love to hear from you! In the meantime, wish us luck as we raise our "undercover" chickies.