My wife and I are your 100% Long Beach, California city couple, raising three small kids while holding down full time jobs.
We have a small back yard which is 1/2 pavement and limited space for planting. My wife wanted healthier food for our family and has had great success in utilizing space in the yard along with planting tubs for growing organic fruit and vegatables.
Success with Apples, Watermelon, Plums, Nectarines, Oranges, Pumpkins, Carrots, Sweet White Corn, Yellow Corn, Artichokes, Onions, Ice Berg Lettuce, Butter Leaf Lettuce, Arugula Lettuce, Green Beans, Squash, Apricots, Yellow Pair Tomatos, Cucumbers, Zuchini, Japanesse Eggplant, Snow Peas, Sweet Peas, Grapes, Blue Berry Bush, Celery, Strawberrys, Herbs Rosemary, Cilantro, Basil, Sage, Oregano, Beaf Steak Tomatos, Brocolli, Sweet Onions, Green Onions, Yellow Onions, White Onions, Garlic, Purple Onions, Beets, Jalapeno Peppers, Cerano Chilles, Sweet Peppers, Green Peppers. The only problem with what we are growing is we need more ROOM to grow larger quanaties of what we like.
Our gardenting roots started young with myself and my 20 yard lawn route business at the age of 14. I had a lawn mower, edger and blower on a modified 3 wheel bicycle I rode from job to job. So, while my friends went surfing at the beach I was working my butt off making money. Needless to say, at the age of 44 I am NOT a big lawn or gardening type of guy. Up until now, my wife has been the one who tills the soil while I enjoyed the outcome of fresh produce.
So getting to the chicken part, I went to the store to buy groceries which I do about 4 times a year (my wife usually does the grocery shopping). When I went to purchase organic eggs and saw how much they cost, I was shocked? I bought them but at that point decided to start looking into raising our own chickens.
1st Stop,: "Getting a Chicken House," I mean, how much could one really cost, $50 or $100 at the most? One of my strenths in live is the art of wheeling and dealing. I wheel and deal daily with cars and motorcycles and consider myself and expert on "finding a good deal". So I went on to Craigslist, Ebay and general google search and was shocked, a chicken coop for $500? It was at that point, I decided to build it myself, something I knew I could do not only better but for 1/3 of the cost.
2nd Stop: Started searching other people's chicken houses on the net. I found a ton of houses with so many different designs to choose from. I needed one for a small backyard and through my search I located one I thought would do the job, it was called a Dutch Hen House (original price tag - $675.00). It looked simple enough and I thought I could recreate it with minimal problems. Although written instructions would have been ideal, there weren't any so I did it the old fasion way and printed the pictures and built it off what I saw.
3rd Stop: Went to the local chicken and fowl supplier called the "Red Barn" in BellFlower, California. I spoke with a young man there who was very helpful and informative. So me and my two daughters (6yrs & 3yrs) and son (6 months) picked out 2 Brad Rock chickens. We purchased everything we needed and they even had boxes out back to raise them in............a paper box with a heat lamp?? What??
4th Stop set of the cardboard box to raise the two girls named Hanna and Lady Gaga
5th Stop: Start building my chicken house while the girls get older (in their hot box in the garage). I did my own spin on the chicken house and added some enhancements I thought would be useful. One improvement I made was to make the floor of the coop removable for cleaning and moving around. I added a floor and some gizmos to lift and lower the water, feed and little door.
Oh, ya never drink while building a chicken coop! How did that get in here??
6th Stop: House is 90% done, under $200 and ready for Hana and Lady Gaga (can you tell our 6 year old and 3 year old named them).
Go here to see a youtube video of our HOME MADE chicken coop
Well, my two hens turned out to be one hen and one roo or rooster!
So, I luckly have a friend who has chickens at his Vineyard in Solvang and took my Roo to join his chickens.
Went and got two baby Red's!
Long Beach CA sad to say has horrible laws for allowing raising chickens.
The law is 1 chicken with a 20 feet setback restriction. Twenty chickens are allowed with a 50 feet setback restriction from single and two-family dwellings, and a 100 feet setback restriction from hotels or multiple (3+) family dwellings. This is virtually impossible in a city like Long Beach.
I want a total of 4 chickens, so I am in STEALTH CHICKEN MODE
I will be working on all the Chicken Laws in all 88 Cities in Los Angeles.
Glad to be here
The website and members have been so very helpfull.