Urban Chickens as Pets and Dinner

February 2, 2011 by


Tina, the urban hen

Guest post contributed by Miki Wright, Lexington, Kentucky urban chicken herder and urban gardener.

“Our girls” were delivered from McMurrays as a box of 27 day old peeping fluff-balls, and we fell in love. We fed them and washed their “poopy” bottoms, and made sure they had everything they needed to be comfortable and happy!

We kept 14 of the 27 that were shipped. The rest were sold or given to new homes. Soon, they had feathers and were taking test flights in their pen in the back room of our house. We named them for celebrities they “resembled”. The tall platinum blonde Polish was Uma (Thurman). Two black and gold Polish were Tina (Turner) and Joan (Jett). Bette (Middler) is a busty, strawberry blonde Cochin who was our first hen to lay a small brown egg right on the ground in the garden.


Fresh eggs!

We had ordered all hens, but got a few unexpected roosters. We gave some away, sold some, and had a couple that no one wanted. Since roosters are illegal here in town, we had a problem. We finally had to dispatch the two we couldn’t find homes for. We eat chicken, so on a certain level, we were OK with that. But I still have those two in the freezer. I find it is very hard to eat a chicken once you have bonded!


The garden in the morning…

Our urban chicken-keeper group (CLUCK!) has coined the term, petstock for the chickens we keep. They are charming pets that provide us with fabulous eggs, and sometimes with a chicken dinner. It sounds heartless, but we all have these birds for food. It is important to keep that in mind when you are raising chickens because they don’t lay eggs forever, and there are a limited number you can keep in an urban garden.

Miki Wright owns Egg Design, a graphic design firm in Lexington KY. She is also an artist, an urban chicken herder and an urban gardener. Her downtown “farm” is in Lexington’s first historic district, Elsmere Park. She shares a 107 year old house with Tom Ricci, a custom cabinet-maker and urban farmer par excellence. They are both members of CLUCK!, “Coop”erative of Lexington Urban Chicken Keepers. Miki can be found chirping on Twitter @farminthehood.

  • http://oldschoolbrandla.blogspot.com R. Gunter

    Outstanding!! I have the pleasure of eating fresh eggs from my neighbors garden! In exchange, I offer sustainable plants and design services!!!

  • elizabeth

    Too bad I can’t rate this minus 20 for killing and eating your friends.

  • http://www.pergolakaffee.com/romanticdinner.aspx Romantic Dinner

    great urban Chicken and fantastic post info. very nice post and good article’s.

  • Robin Plaskoff Horton

    I can understand Elizabeth’s point of view. Some people, however, raise chickens just for the eggs. Personally, I could not eat my pets either, but Miki makes the point that they are raised for food.

  • http://www.manuretea.com Annie Haven/Authentic Haven Brand

    Wonderful article and a cycle of life! Annie

  • https://www.gardenyourcity.com Barbara

    Hoping you use (but no mention of) great manure for the garden. Is “dispatch” another word for “now in the freezer”?? I do eat the meat of animals but just could not eat a pet.

  • Pingback: Urban Chickens as Pets and Dinner | Urban Gardens | Unlimited … | Chicken Feeds Suppliers

  • http://www.ahamodernliving.com Jayme

    I’m getting chickens this year! Personally, I want them for their eggs and poop. I don’t think I can eat the chicks I raise, but I’m not against other homesteaders who do so. At least you know where they come from and they’re humanely raised.

    I constructing my own modern chicken coop and can’t wait to share it with you!

  • Robin Plaskoff Horton

    Jayme, with your talent and design eye, I can’t wait to see the modern chicken coop you come up with! I was inspired by the cool Eglu coop from Omlet:
    http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2009/09/19/flocks-of-urbanites-raising-chickens-under-green-roofs/

  • lucy schwartz

    Up here there is a tour each year of the most wonderful chicken coop. The one with the chandelier in it won with me. Victorian cam up next. Stained glass windows and all.

  • lucy schwartz

    well, i’ll tell you that the first time that chicken pecked me to blood , Fried Chicken tonight. ha

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