Hello from NYC


Jun 5, 2020
I grew up mostly in central PA, surrounded by other people's cows and corn. Now I live in NYC with my family and a grouchy indoor cat. I've always been intrigued by urban farmers and permaculture, but with quarantine we've gotten a lot of the things done that were on my "to-do before I can try animal husbandry" list. My fruit trees are in their third summer, my rain garden has stones in it, time to seriously look at chickens. I met my first Buff Orpingtons visiting family in the UK ten years ago, and immediately decided they were the chickens for me. I'm also interested in Araucanas, but I think maybe Easter Eggers might be slightly better for me and my family. (Youngest is 4 years old, oldest is 16.)

After a failed vermiculture experiment in my kitchen years ago (baby cockroaches like the same stuff worms do. and then they get too big to get out of the worm bin and trample the worms to death and there's carnage and screaming. ...now you know), my husband restricted all livestock to outdoors.

Including raised beds, rain garden, grape arbor, shed and roses, my yard is 20 feet wide by (about) 90 feet. The back ten feet are about three feet lower than the rest of the yard, currently covered in extremely vigorous and pointy rambling roses, and that's where I think would be best for a coop (since it's also the space furthest from all neighbors.)

I found backyardchickens.com when I was looking for Urban Chicken Coop reviews. I really like the vertical space aspect of https://roostandroot.com/product/round-top-stand-up-chicken-coop/#package-essentials, and since there's no backyard access except through my living room, we really need a kit. No pre-built luxury chicken condos for us. (Husband is handy-- he built my raised beds-- but busy-- it took him three years to complete from start to finish. I am not handy. Power tools scare me.)

Then I wondered if we should get something like the https://www.omlet.us/shop/chicken_keeping/portable_chicken_coop_eglu_go_up/, so chickens could (destroy and) delight in different parts of my lawn through the summer. But it seems way too small for long-term happy chickens. Then I thought Both! Eglu for when we are out in the backyard and can keep an eye on them, bigger coop for the rest of the time.

Suddenly this little hobby was getting super expensive, even if we get tasty eggs out of it.

Also, I'm lazy. I can keep orchids alive because they only need to be watered once a week. I worry that even doing deep layering of straw (which, because we're in the city and have no car, would be something I'd have to order online), I might not be able to keep on top of the smell or the bird's happiness.

We've got red tailed hawks nesting in the bridge two blocks away, I watched a small raccoon crawl over my neighbor's garage and down our grape arbor last week, and while the cannibal rats haven't made it out here to Queens yet, who knows how long it will take before they discover how to build boats. Oh, and there are at least two neighborhood cats that like to poop in my raised beds. They would love to harass hens.

Can I have chickens responsibly? Or must I continue to live vicariously through message boards?

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