City Chicks

Zen and the Art Of Raising Chickens
May 24, 2011, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Books, How-to | Tags: ,

Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens

By Clea Edelblute, is available for purchase on 

Details from

Product Description

It examines why keeping chickens has become so popular, as it addresses environmental issues, the locovore movement, and a shift in the way we want to live. The book includes the way in which hen-keeping can easily be fitted into a busy lifestyle.

About the Author

Clea Edelblute lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, two cats, four sweet chickens and suburban organic garden. She is Reiki master with a background in massage therapy, Acutonics Sound Healing, somatic psychology, and Expressive Arts Therapy. She left her healing career to devote time to her children and writing career, and now has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.

The Mid-life Crisis Coop

As found on, this month’s award for best decoration of a chicken coop goes to the “Mid Life Crisis Coop” by Todd Bowser of Pennsylvania.  What began as his 10 year old’s incubator project turned into an award winning coop complete with chandelier and framed family photos for the hens.

A good tip, added Todd, is to know if your chicken breed can climb a ramp before you build. Unfortunately,  this is something his silkies couldn’t do.

The Vancooper
May 9, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Best Design Award Winner, Coops | Tags: , ,

Built to meet Vancouver’s bylaw requirements, the Vancooper by offers an affordable solution for urban enthusiasts. With options for delivery and installation, the Vancooper sells for $649.00 CDN, (with $50.00 upfront) and can  be ordered online.

For the simplicity of it’s design and the ease with which it can be maintined, I felt the Vancooper should win this month’s design award.

Heather Havens Backyard Basics

  While researching the legalities of backyard brooding I ran across an interesting download-able PDF publication by Heather Havens called “Keeping Backyard Hens – The Basics“, 2009.  The file was hosted on

Heather Havens, a self described  Agricultural and Animal Scientist from the US, has been into Canadian urban chickens since 2008.  In The Basics, Havens offers advice from practical housing tips like how to protect from predators to local legal confines such as expanding on bylaws for various cities in BC.

Good Advice

In addition to her own remarks, Havens’ housing advice is supported by a detailed fact sheet from Virginia Tech.

I was especially taken with this tip: ” Pet chickens may live up to 20 years, yet they will only lay until they are about 8, and not lay reliably much after 6 years old. Decide what you plan to do with your retired backyard hens, before you get to that point.” Personally, I think this is an important and often overlooked point and I encourage others to pass it on.

Other information of use to Urban Chicken enthusiasts in BC is a handy list of veterinarians with services for small flock poultry as well as feed and supply stores.  But best of all, the PDF file is free and you can’t help but like that.

For chicken tractors and lists of laws, you can’t beat
May 9, 2011, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Bylaws, Coops | Tags: , , , , , ,

  In addition to handy advice like how to avoid May mud in your coop, by Katy Skinner is a great place to find inspiration for your Chicken Tractor or a reference for laws about urban coop keeping.

With her Chicken Tractor images, Katy has inspired coop builders from as far away as South Africa.  Just don’t try looking for the site at  Despite mentions in  the New York Times and USA Today, the address of this best kept secret is:

Art by Margaret Foreman
May 9, 2011, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Art | Tags: , , ,

"Bad Boy" by Margaret Foreman 24"x"24" Acrylic on canvass

Margaret Foreman is an artist from Victoria BC, who’s acrylic painting of a rooster titled “Bad Boy” caught my attention.  Browsing through her website I found that she favours warmer hues and impressionist methods. Perhaps it was also her lack of formal training that also impressed me as I feel akin to people who dare to go their own way. Foreman’s portfolio also includes paintings from her travels and perhaps her way of sharing her journey with others.

For more of Margaret Foreman’s art, visit her website at:

Heather Bullard’s Beautiful Chicken Coop

 "Chez Poulet"Look out California, keeping up with the Kardashians just got a bit tougher.  Heather Bullard has taken chicken coop design to a whole new level.

This coop is a delightful combination of crisp clean cottage lines and white wash with charming dash of antique details.  Easy to reach roosting and laying areas will make cleaning and collecting a snap. Well thought out storage spaces spaces will keep tools and feed organized and out of sight.

Access and storage space de-clutter and clean.

The resulting coop wins on two counts – for design and decoration.

For more details, a link to her website can be found below. In addition to the interesting story of how the building project went, the site is also linked to the homepage of Heather’s virtual boutique of home decor.

Well done Heather!

Breeds – Learning about the ‘Chantecler’
June 6, 2010, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Breeds | Tags: , , ,

Chantecler hen from the Abby of Notre-Dame du Lac, Quebec, 1926.

There are many breeds of chickens so it was difficult to choose where to start.

For the neighbours, I should choose a quiet breed. For personal interest, I would choose a brown egg layer that is friendly and attractive.  This narrowed down the list considerably until I stumbled on a rare Canadian breed known as the Chantecler.

This led me to Cherry Creek Farm in Kamloops BC where they breed this rare bird and sell chicks. I think a tour of Kamloops my be in the near future.

Breed to withstand Canadian winters, this is a hardy bird with a calm disposition and I like the Canadian content.

It is particularly interesting to learn that measures are being taken to keep this very rare breed from disappearing. More information about the rare Chantecler breed can be found at the Canadian Farm Animal Genetic Resources Foundation, CFARGF.  url:

June 4, 2010, 3:16 am
Filed under: Urban Farming | Tags: , , , , , ,

Hitting the pavement. Time to take a look around.

Goal setting – what is it that one needs to know about chickens before trying to raise them in an urban area? My first goal will be to look up what information is available and get some ideas for how to approach this hobby.

Research topics:

  • research what is legally permitted in Victoria, BC
  • research chicken varieties, characteristics, etc.
  • research coops, decoration and function
  • research feed types and their pros and cons