I have visions of owning chickens.
I see myself going only as far as my backyard to pluck freshly laid eggs (small, speckled blue ones) from one of 3 or 4 chickens in my modern-style coop.
At least that's the dream.
Then the reality of chicken ownership kicks in; Incubating hens from chicks, dealing with the errant rooster, mucking out coops, treating sick chickens. It's these thoughts that keep my backyard barren.
Seeing examples of how other locals are raising chickens at Saturday's Tour de Coops, however, makes that dream seem a little more do-able.
See more photos after the jump.
The Phoenix Permaculture Guild created the 2nd annual tour in which, for a nominal fee ($10 for 2 people), those entertaining ideas of hen-ownership can see how others -- 18 others around the Valley, to be precise -- live with chickens.
One house had a small, simple coop for 1-chicken (Luna) which had the run of the backyard. Another mid-century modern hen house might have been nicer than my own home. Others used chickens as a part of a bigger farming eco-system: chickens make fertilizer, fertilizer makes healthy gardens, garden waste turns to compost and also feeds aforementioned chickens.
Oh the circle of life!
A look at some of the coops on the 2010 Tour de Coops:
1) A chalk drawing of a chicken marks the entrance of one of the tour stops
2) A new modern-style coop was recently built for 20 young chickens in North Central Phoenix
3) Chicken waste makes great vegetable fertilizer, as demonstrated by one home's expansive garden
4) A basket of eggs hangs at one of the coops
5) One fine looking hen
6) Composting is one part of the farming cycle