Portland gets crazy about things. Not a criticism – I love that about my adopted hometown. I especially love that Portlanders are crazy about lots of low-tech, low impact, ordinary seeming things. Coffee, beer, DIY everything, gardening, chickens… Sometimes I wonder if we Portlanders just tell ourselves that Portland is different from other cities, then I remember that half the people I know can name a dozen chicken breeds and the pros and cons of each. Some of these people don’t even have yards. I reckon the same can’t be said for a random sample of urban 30-somethings in Kansas City or Seattle.
Oh, chickens. For several years I’ve watched friend after friend join the ranks of the chicken keepers, building coops and raising chicks. Maybe it’s contagious, because as I type this there are 4 fluffy peeps with freakishly large feet and dinosaur faces hanging out in my kitchen in a Rubbermaid tub. I’ve been at work for just 2 hours, and I’m worried about whether they’ve already filled their water with pine shavings rendering it undrinkable. I’m thinking about the crickets I’ll pick up for them on my way home. I’m scheming about turning them loose on the garden between plantings, still cranky about last year’s nasty battle with slugs and aphids. I’m hoping hard that none of them turn out to be roosters. I’ve become a chicken keeper.
True to Portland form, when people get crazy about something they’re bound and determined to spread the love. So when you get on the chicken train, there’s no shortage of places to go for advice and camaraderie. When I decided to get chickens, I talked to people at Pistils, Naomi’s, and even my neighborhood pet store before finally choosing some chicks at Urban Farm Store. Now I’m putting the finishing touches on the coop and waiting for the little ladies to get big enough to move out there. And apparently, spreading the love myself. I can’t wait for this year’s Tour de Coops. I love this town.