Archive for the ‘Chicken Coops’ Category

Twin Cities Coop Tour September 11, 2010

September 05, 2010

Grab some friends and head out to the Twin Cities Coop Tournext Saturday, September 11th from 10 AM to 4 PM. It’s the largest tour ever with 28 coops on the tour!!! Visit all of the coops or just a couple in your area and find out how easy and fun it is to keep backyard chickens.

Click on Twin Cities Coop Tour to find a Google map with all the locations listed. Printed maps will also be available the day of the tour at Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, 1771 Selby Ave. in St. Paul, starting at 10 am. Centrally located for easy access from Minneapolis and St. Paul, Egg|Plant also carries chicken feed and supplies, books on coop-building and chicken-keeping, as well as coop and chicken tractor kits. New this year, Coop Tour T-Shirts!


To order call 612-751-5478 or email christine@twistwire.com.


Bedtime

On the home front, my four girls are finally getting along and bunking together in the Pleasure Palace Coop. It took awhile, and Cleo did not adapt easily, but she’s finally realized the babes are here to stay and there’s nothing she can do about it. Come nighttime I find all four chicks in the coop with the two babies on the window sill or roost, Roxanne on the chicken door and Cleo pacing the floor or in the nest box. Not quite Kumbaya but we’re on the way.



Fried Eggs over Buttered Leeks and Croutons

You have to love a friend who calls and asks if you want some freshly picked grapes and then delivers home-grown leeks and Siberian garlic too. My friend Joni recently dropped off these goodies and I was blown away. I once helped plant leeks at the Eastside Children’s Garden, it’s a backbreaking endeavor as you try to separate the teeny tiny plants and tuck each one upright into the soil. Then you have to mound them as they grow to keep the root end tender and white. I once tried to grow garlic and ended up with small bulbs that weren’t worth the effort. I admire real gardeners.


Garden Fresh Leeks

This was a precious gift that called for a special recipe. I wanted to serve the leeks in a simple way so I could taste their unique flavor. So this morning I decided to saute the leeks in Hope Creamery butter and serve them over toasted bread topped with Cleo’s eggs. Perfection!


Fried Eggs over Buttered Leeks and Croutons
Print This Recipe

3 tablespoons butter
1½ cups halved and sliced leeks*
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
4 slices artisan bread, toasted and buttered

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in leeks until coated with butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Crack eggs into individual cups and gently pour into skillet. Cover and cook 3 minutes or until the whites are firm and the yolks are soft or until desired doneness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. To serve, place toasted bread on plates, top with leeks and place one egg over each slice of toast.

Serves 4

* To trim leeks, cut away the dark green tops and root ends leaving the white and light green tender stalks. Half the leeks lengthwise and wash well under water making sure all of the dirt is removed. Pat dry and slice.

Chicken Aunt

September 16, 2009

My friend Pegi has joined the backyard chicken movement and recently got 7 adorable chicks. I’m so excited—I feel like I’ve become a sort of chicken aunt.

Her husband built a beautiful chicken palace next to their garden shed and my girls are jealous. They originally planned on getting 6 chicks, but the feed store threw in an extra one. I guess it’s the updated version of the baker’s half-dozen. Although lately she said one of the chicks has been acting strange and is a little larger than the others. This could become interesting….


The Chicken Palace

The chicks are growing fast. They are Black Australorps, a large heavy breed from Australia. Apparently this breed is the Australian’s take on the Orpington breed (my Roxanne is a Buff Orpington). They are friendly, gentle and winter hardy. They also hold the world’s record for the most eggs laid in one year – 364! With my inconsistent layers who seem to drop an egg only when they feel like it, I can see that hen envy could become a real problem for me.

Artistic Coops

October 13, 2008

Take a look at a couple of creative coops and a proud chicken owner in the Twin Cities. We visited them last month as part of the Parade of Coops! tour (see the September 16, 2008 post Parade of Coops!). We recently found the photos after they’d been lost and we’re thrilled to bring them to you.

A backyard chicken coop is more than just a place to house hens. It’s a landscape feature in your garden. Whether it’s store bought, a kit or homemade think about how the color and design will go with your surroundings. Check out the Her Patch of Green feature in the current issue (October 2008) of This Old House magazine http://www.thisoldhouse.com for inspiration. The artistic coop located in a Seattle backyard will interest you. For other interesting coop designs look at http://www.winecountrycoops.com.

Swingin’ Chickens

September 08, 2008

Welcome to the Swingin’ Chicks: Three backyard chickens and their starring act on the outskirts of St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve decided to write this to let everyone know how easy it is to raise a couple of chickens in a suburban backyard. I’ll write about the many joys but also let you in on a few of the problems that have come up. I knew nothing about chickens before I brought home my 1-day-old chicks, but I’ve learned along the way. They’re warm incredible pets with amazing personalities who lay gifts of eggs almost every day. I’m also passionate about simple good food and decided to raise chickens because of the incredible taste of fresh eggs. I’ll therefore pass along a few original recipes now and then that I feel are worth making. (See the post below for my favorite pancakes.)

To introduce you to the chicks, Roxanne, a buff Orpington, is the leader of the trio. Her fluffy golden feathers should evoke images of Las Vegas showgirls. Instead, her wide hips give her a matronly look not dissimilar from a certain “pantsuit brigade” I admire. She uses those hips to push the others aside and is a born leader keeping the other girls in line.

Cleo is an Araucana/Ameraucana, a mixed breed otherwise known as Easter egg chickens because of the colored eggs they lay. She is the sweet chick. She runs over to join me when I sit on the stairs of the deck and climbs onto my lap snuggling in. She loves to be petted and hugged.

Crazy Lulu is my other Easter egg chick but she has the opposite temperament. I’ve never held her; in fact I’ve never been within an arms reach of her unless she’s in the coop and half asleep. Nevertheless, she lays beautiful blue eggs and she’s prolific.

The girls live in a royal blue Eglu made by the Omlet Company of Great Britain. I love it and the chicks love it. It’s a thoroughly modern practical coop that looks great in the backyard and comes with everything you need to raise 3 to 4 chickens including a fox-proof run. It’s also portable—not convenient to transport mind you—but doable if you’re going away for a couple weeks and need someone elsewhere to watch them. Check out the link.

This is the second year that I’ve had my chickens and they’re now heading into their second fall and winter, which is certainly the most difficult time for all of us here in Minnesota. I’ll be writing periodically through the year about the chicks’ health and lifestyle, and sharing some photos of them as well. I hope this blog will entertain but perhaps more importantly inspire some of you to join in the backyard chicken “revolution.” So for now, welcome.