For the past couple of years, Vancouver, Washington has provided a tour of the residences of some of its local downtown inhabitants. No, it’s not another exposé on the homeless, or another tour of the up and coming areas that seem to be popping up in little pockets all over downtown.
It’s a tour of chicken coops! That’s right! The houses where those feathery, cackling, dirt-scratching, two-legged providers of a favorite breakfast food live. Yes, indeed, sirs and ma’ams, it’s chickens and their coops!
This past Saturday was the 3rd Annual Coop du Jour, with 12 of the city’s finest chicken residences on display, along with their funny little inhabitants. With names like Brenda and Shirley, and coops that included a children’s play structure that overlooked the chicken run, and one built out of a converted dog house, it was a fun day, indeed! The resident people at each location also added to the sense of adventure: some of them provided refreshments like iced tea, which was a glorious welcome on a warm, muggy day, or tiny little cupcakes; others had a fortuitous yard sale going in the front yard; and still others gave away free bunches of fresh lavender, picked that morning from plants that stretched all across the front and side of the “people house.”
Since, for some very bizarre and unknown reason, I didn’t take any photos during the day’s chicken coop touring, I’ll just share some pictures of a few of the breeds we met along the way, and also a few of the chicken coops from the tour’s page. The information on each of the following breeds comes from My Pet Chicken, and just in case you’d like to have your own fresh eggs every morning for breakfast, I’ve included the links to purchase these birds so you can enjoy having your own backyard flock.
Silverlaced Wyandottes are a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easy going nature and cold hardiness. Each feather is silvery white edged in beetle black, similar to Silver Sebrights. The hens look as if they’re ladies dressed for a fancy ball!
Silverlaced Wyandot chickens can be purchased here.
Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Reds are held in such high esteem that they’re the official Rhode Island state bird. They’re the do-everything bird: they lay exceptionally well, they’re valued for their meat, they’re extremely cold hardy, and hardy in general. In fact, if you’re not certain what type of bird to raise in your climate, chances are, the Rhode Island Reds will do well.
Rhode Island Red chickens can be purchased here.
This lovely breed was developed in the Spanish province that gave it its name. It is difficult to breed in that you will always produce Black and Splash marked fowl in every clutch. These can be used as breeders, or layers, but are not showable. Andalusians also occur in a bantam form. They lay a fair sized white egg and are non-setters.
Blue Andalusian chickens can be purchased here.
Of all the ornamental chicken breeds, the Silkie Bantam is one of the most popular and beloved, and certainly one of the most entertaining to watch. Can’t you tell why? They’re the lap kitty of the chicken world, complete with hair-like plumage and an incredibly sweet temperament. Silkies originated in the Far East, where they are still kept (and eaten) today. They have black skin and bones and 5 toes instead of the normal 4. In addition, Silkie hens make wonderful brooders and mothers, and are even known to adopt baby ducks if given the chance!
Silkie Bantam chickens can be purchased here.
Just to get an idea of how inventive people can be when building the residences for their hens, here are a few of the photos from the Coop du Jour’s page:
Well, that’s it, folks! A little bit of chicken heaven from Vancouver, Washington. Next year’s tour is sure to be just as much fun as this year’s was; maybe we’ll see you along the way!