'The Girls' Next Door features none other than yours truly: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/pending/story/736008.html The front page of the "Home & Garden" section of the newspaper pictures Curry, my 8-week-old BO (she was about 6 weeks here) and me! Here are our pics from the article: Caption: PHOTOS BY DREW PERINE/THE NEWS TRIBUNE - Jennifer Adrien holds Curry, a buff orpington chicken, near her coop at her home in South Tacoma. Gwen, a black star chicken, below, was a late egg producer, so Adrien put up an image of Obama for encouragement. I wanted to inspire the chickens, Adrien said. Yes, you can lay an egg. (That's actually our VERY perturbed RIR Nugget giving us the "stop looking at me while I'm working" stink eye, but... oh well ) Article text: "The Girls" Next Door DEBBIE CAFAZZO; The News Tribune Published: 05/09/09 1:20 am In the backyard, chicks are the new chic. In cities and suburbs around the country, chicken coops now claim equal billing with icons like the swing set or the barbecue. What was once the province of true farmers or back-to-nature hippies has become the new American way. Everybody, it seems, is flocking to the backyard chicken movement. Jenn Adrien of Tacoma joined the growing trend a year ago, with the addition of three hens Gwen, Tribble and Nugget to her household. This year, she added two more chicks, Curry and Croquette. Despite their names, Adrien wouldnt think of putting any of her girls on the dinner table. Like most of the new backyard chicken hobbyists, shes strictly in it for the eggs. And the fun. We raise chickens to have fresh eggs, fertile compost for our gardens, free weeding, a place to get rid of table scraps and lots of backyard entertainment, she says. Theres nothing more satisfying than sitting at her backyard table on a sunny morning, drinking tea, reading the paper and listening to her chickens cluck, she says. Two doors down the block, Adriens neighbor Kim Desmarais keeps six hens: Tamarind, Grey Cheeks, Pheasant, Gemini, Obsidian and Flapjack. I grew up on a farm, Desmarais says. I like collecting the eggs. I like knowing where they came from. The two households take turns caring for each others flocks when one family goes on vacation. Chris Benedict, agriculture extension agent for Washington State University Extension in Puyallup, says interest in chicken-raising is booming in Pierce Countys cities and suburbs. People are trying to reconnect, says Benedict. They are realizing its important to reconnect with where food comes from. He sees the backyard chicken movement as a natural outgrowth of other close-to-home food trends, including farmers markets, food co-ops and the practice of buying farm shares. Benedict is organizing a May 16 workshop for people interested in raising chickens. It will offer information to help people get started. Adrien says she and her boyfriend began raising chickens because we wanted to do something that alleviated, even if just a little, the demand on cage-raised hens. The practice of de-beaking, cramped conditions and hens very short lives never sat right with me. But to her surprise, her girls have become a fascinating hobby that makes us laugh, provides food for our household and friends, and opens a door into a whole new community of like-minded people. And BYC gets a nod twice in the print edition and once in online edition under, "What you need to know about raising your own city flock" here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/pending/story/736008.html Article text: What you need to know to raise your own city flock DREW PERINE/THE NEWS TRIBUNE Lachlan Desmarais, 3, shows off one of his familys six chickens at his home in Tacoma. Is it legal to have chickens in the city? Check with your local government, either county or city, to make sure of the rules. Tacoma bans roosters, but allows hens. Coops must be at least 50 feet from your neighbors house unless your neighbor agrees in writing that its OK to have it closer, and you file the agreement with the city clerk. Animal control handles complaints about roaming chickens. The Health Department can help if your neighbors chickens cause you concerns over sanitation. In Puyallup, officials advise chicken owners to keep their chickens at least 50 feet away from their neighbors property. Also, chicken owners are subject to the citys noise ordinance. In Olympia, youre restricted to three pets including dogs, cats and chickens. Roosters are not allowed. Feed must be stored in rat-proof containers. Where can I get baby chicks? Theyre on sale in the spring at local feed and farm supply stores the same place you can buy chicken feed. Ask which food is best for chicks, and which works for older birds. You can also buy chicks online and have them shipped to you. Youll need a brooder to keep them warm. See more on raising chicks at www.backyardchickens.com. What about the coop? Designs run the gamut from basic to deluxe. They must provide protection from heat, rain and predators. And hens need a protected place to lay their eggs. Pine shavings work well as bedding. Jenn Adriens hens live in a wooden coop built by her boyfriend. It has a clear plastic lid to let in daylight, and it sits a few feet off the ground. A wooden ramp with chicken-sized steps provides access to their small fenced outdoor run. Kim Desmarais has a larger run for her flock, with a ramp that leads to a window in a large barnlike garden shed. Inside the shed, the hens nest in the drawers of an old dresser. Check out the book Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock, by Judy Pangman for ideas. If you dont want to build from scratch, you can order pre-fab coops from sites such as www.omlet.us. The poop? Composting is the best way to deal with it, say experts. Dont let it sit in your coop, or it will start to smell and attract vermin. Chicken manure mixed with green and woody yard trimmings makes good compost. Andy Bary, Washington State University soil scientist and compost expert, recommends using new compost made from manure on ornamentals or on vegetables that will be cooked. If you want to use it on vegetables that will be eaten raw, make sure the compost is at least a year old. The run? Be aware: Chickens love to eat grass. Theyll eat it all, along with your weeds, fruiting plants and shrubs, if you let them. One way around this problem, if you have a large yard, is to create a moveable run that lets chickens peck at the grass in one spot, but then is moved to a new spot before the area is denuded of vegetation. Another is to learn to live with a patch of bare ground. How many eggs will I get? Each hen can produce an egg roughly once a day more during the longer days of summer, less in winter. They produce best in their first or second year of laying, then gradually taper off with age. Ornamental breeds lay fewer eggs than those bred for egg production, such as Orpingtons, Rhode Island reds or Plymouth Rocks. Should I worry about catching bird flu from my chickens? Should my neighbors worry? Most types of avian flu are not a threat to people, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. A. Singh Dhillon of the avian health lab at WSU Extension in Puyallup, says Washington has not recorded a case of the dangerous bird flu that killed people in Asia a few years back. If birds in your flock appear ill or die unexpectedly, you should report it to the state Agriculture Department.