Coop Dreams

May 9th, 2010 | Posted by Alison Spath in Life

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s been a while.  I’m still here though.  Still running.  Still riding.   Still drinking green juice.  Still eating salads as big as my head.  Still living in the cityStill blogging. Oh no, wait, not quite.  Blogging again?  Hmmm, maybe.  I don’t know for sure just yet.

What I do know though is that today I’m feeling motivated to write a little something about the newest thing I’m currently psyched about:

Raising our own backyard chickens.

My mother-in-law started raising chickens last year.  It seems as though every single one of our crunchy granola homeschooling friends is talking about their spring chicks.  The June/July issue of Organic Gardening magazine says “keeping a flock of hens has gone from being homey to being oh-so-stylishly vogue”.  For the last few months I’ve been seriously contemplating this cool, fun, educational, hippy, local foodie feat and this weekend I got serious about jumping on the backyard poultry bandwagon.

First things first, we have to fashion a chicken coop.

Chicken Coop Plans

The criteria?  It’s got be big enough to hold three chickens.  (As I currently understand it, three is the limit in the city.)  From what I’ve read, you need 2 – 3 square feet of floor space per chicken, and that means I’m looking to construct a little something that’s about 6 to 9 square feet big.  I’d prefer to build said coop on the cheap and therefore we will be using as much scrap material from around the house and around town as possible.  Hello 4 x 4 wooden pallets – thank you for making the construction of my future hen house that much easier!

Second things next, apparently we need a license to keep chickens in the city, thus, I’ll be schlepping me, my checkbook and two small children to city hall some day this week.  Get ready.

Last but not least, our new chickens are currently hanging with the flock at Zak’s mom’s house until their city digs are ready.


Observe: the small plot of land behind our garage where our coop and chicken run is currently set to be located.

Future Chicken Run

One of the oh-so-many reasons I’m intrigued by the idea of raising our own chickens would be my desire to show my children where our food comes from.  Eggs don’t just magically appear in cartons in the refrigerator case at Wegmans ya know.  Although I do always buy free range, organic eggs – I’d like to do it one step better.  My efforts in healthy eating has more recently evolved into paying serious attention to living sustainably and eating locally – and it just doesn’t get more local than your own backyard.

Aaaaand what a perfect segue to the vegetable garden I’ve been working on in our small city yard!  A few weeks ago I got a (late) start on sprouting my own seeds – something I’ve never done before.  Until this year I’ve always been a pay-too-much-for-vegetable-plants-in-the-late-spring kind of gal.


This year I started (too many) cherry tomatoes, (lots ‘o) cucumbers, peas (which I now know could have gone straight into the ground) along with a myriad of flowers like sun flowers, four o’clocks, impatiens and morning glories.

We started spinach about a month and a half ago and put in a pea bed just last week.


Spinach Bed Pea Bed

And I’ve got two pumpkins going from seeds that were recently transplanted to a small bed smack dab in the middle of the yard due to limited amounts of direct sun.


So in case you couldn’t tell, we’ve been busy outside getting the garden underway at the new house.  The girls have enjoyed being involved and observing the start of the life cycle as plants being to grow and the trees and flowers come alive before our very eyes.

What have I been eating these last few months you surely ask?  Well, I have to say that not a lot has changed during my blogging hiatus.  There’s been lots of juice, salads, vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, some spouted grains and the occasional bowl of overnight oats or breakfast cookie.  Oh yeah, there’s been some Green & Black 70% Dark chocolate and plenty of Sabra hummus and bulk almond butter that has made its way in and out of my fridge too.  We’ve been eating less dairy and less grains too, and eating more vegetables if that’s even possible.  If anything, it’s been a hell of a lot more boring  in recent months given my lack of food photography or writing about meals and snacks since no one is watching!

So stay tuned as I attempt to build a chicken coop, raise some backyard chickens, come up with recipes to use up the vegetables from our CSA this year and otherwise make an attempt to return to the blogosphere to write about food and running and motherhood and all things healthy living.  Here goes nothing.

Please know that links to Amazon are affiliate links. It doesn’t change the price you pay, but if you buy something from Amazon after following one of the links in my posts, I earn a percentage based commission from Amazon as a part of their affiliate program. This is one of the ways I generate revenue from the posts that I write here. I promise that I only link to items that I truly endorse. You don’t ever have to buy anything, but if you do, thank you for supporting the site and the work I do here.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

27 Responses

  • Libby says:

    Hi Alison,

    I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw “Mama’s Weeds” in my google reader. I often think about and wonder how you’re getting on. I recently started my own food blog after being inspired by yours. So glad you’re going to blogging again. You’ll love the chickens. I love mine – they are such funny creatures and of course, produce the best tasting eggs. I look forward to hearing more about them and watching your veggie garden take shape. Mine is finished for Summer and with going overseas for 6 weeks I’ve decided to rest it over Winter and replant in Spring.


    • Alison says:

      Thanks for keeping me in your reader all this time Libby! And I had no idea you had chickens! It seriously feels like everyone is doing it these days. Off to check out your food blog!

  • Daniel says:

    Hey! Ever since finding your blog through NoMeatAthlete (which eventually led me to Kath’s blog, and TONS of others) I’ve been reading for quite some time. Everyday when I open up my 40 or so blogs yours was one that I would hope would have new content and I never gave up! It was so great to see something new updated here. It’s good to hear that you’re ok and the chicken coop and vegetables are so awesome! We’re planning on planting a garden this summer (well, Mom’s starting it and I’m helping when I get back from studying abroad for 3 weeks in Greece.) and I can’t wait for it! I got hooked on reading your blog from the make-your-own-veggie burger post and I hope to see more awesome posts!

    • Alison says:

      Hey Daniel! Thanks for your comment, I’ve found a ton of amazing blogs the exact same way! Glad to still be one of your 40ish blogs. And suddenly I’ve got a hankering to add veggie burgers to the dinner menu this week!

    • Upstate Gardener says:

      Great website here! Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Woo hoo!!! You’re back!! I’m SO excited!!! Can you tell I’m happy to see this post???!!! LOL 😉

    It’s super cool that you’re gonna be raising your own chickens and enjoying the eggs. I have chickens, too. 😀

    Can’t wait to read more!

    Healthy hugs,

  • Shari B. says:

    Hey Mama, so glad to see a post from you in my Google Reader today! Your garden is impressive! And I’m so envious of your future “homegrown” eggs! Can’t wait to follow along with this new adventure!

    Happy Mother’s Day! :)

  • Lizzy says:

    MAMMA!!!!!!!!! Happy Mothers Day! Miss you

  • Tay says:

    I was so excited to see the bold Mama’s Weeds in my google reader :-) Pleeeeeeeeeeease stick around!!!

  • Amy says:

    *gasp*!!!! I haven’t even read your post yet. I just wanted to say I’m so excited you wrote a new post! Wheeeee!

  • Mama Pea says:

    You just made my Mother’s Day. I’ve missed you so.

  • Welcome back! And chickens…I know alot of people in urban san diego with coops. It’s the hip thing to do these days :) along with your CSA!
    Happy Mother’s Day!!

  • Michelle says:

    Welcome back! Very excited to hear about the chicken raising! We want to do the same thing, but our neighborhood restrictions strictly forbid it. We’re moving soon, so maybe….Good luck!

  • Holly says:

    your blog popping up in my reader? highlight of the day. so good to hear from you mama!

  • rachael says:

    glad you’re sort-of, maybe, kind-of back:) Can’t wait to hear more about you’re gardening adventures!

  • Whit says:

    Can I even tell you how excited I was too see you pop up in my reader? Words cannot explain. AND YOU ARE RAISING CHICKENS? Mama D is going to want to adopt you.

  • Erika says:

    Good to hear from you and I love the idea of a chicken coop! I can’t wait to read all about it. I started my veggies from seed last year but this year was not prepared well and just bought the plants. I bought tiny ones from a local nursery that starts the seeds themselves so the price was not too bad.

    Hope you and the kids are doing well!

  • Lisa Walton says:

    Fantastic!! Love that you are back. Looking forward to hearing about your new house and chicken ventures!!


  • MaryB says:

    So glad to see you! Love that you’re going to raise chickens! And, I love that Rochester has “Animal & Poultry License” on that same permit page as “Going Out Of Business License”. Really, someone would need a permit for either of these things? Crazy!

  • I was so glad to see your post in my reader!!! Sounds like lots of exciting things are happening in your yard! Hope to see another post real soon! :)

  • Jane/you-know-who says:

    So happy “Mama” is back in cyber land with the rest of us…and doing your thing

  • Carbzilla says:

    I’m totally excited to watch you go through this. We’re thinking of doing this next year after we get some other things under our belt. For the moment, we’re enjoying our honeybees and leaving well enough alone at our city homestead. Will be fun to live vicariously through you guys for a while.

  • Sharon says:

    I LOVE MAMA’s WEEDS! Thank you for returning! PS If you have too many plants i’ll take some. HE HE HE

  • Bernadette says:

    Welcome back girl!!! You’ve been missed!


  • Cindy says:

    Holy Smokes…your back…just heard…(thanks Berni)
    can’t wait to catch up and read all about your new ventures with da coop..

    missed ya

  • Great ideas here, thanks. I honestly took the plunge and got me some chickens last week! Now I have more eggs than I know what to do with!. You might be interested in these egg recipes.