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Are You Chicken?

October 22, 2012

Given our focus on homesteading, among other land and community-based activities, we at Trackers Northwest are naturally delighted that so many Portland residents are taking advantage of city bylaws and keeping chickens alongside their beans and compost bins. If you have been thinking of starting a coop of your own, here are a few things for you to consider.

1.    Available space. Chickens will need both a coop and a run to provide shelter from the elements and protection from predators. The coop, where the birds sleep and nest, needs a roof and should be at least four by four feet. The run, for eating and exercising, should be a minimum of four by eight feet with six-foot fencing.
2.    Cost. Average start up costs, including the coop and run as well as the chicks themselves, are about $500. From there, monthly costs for maintaining three chickens are $40-$50.
3.    Time investment. If they are properly cared for, chickens can live for up to 14 years!
4.    Neighbors. In the spirit of community, it may be a good idea to let your neighbors know that you are planning to keep chickens. If they are interested, a group coop construction day could be a great community-building event, and allow everyone to feel invested in the project.

Trackers Northwest runs outdoor camps and programs in the Portland area designed to teach adults and children about nature and community. Several Homesteading Crafts courses are offered throughout the year.

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