Last May, I gave my dad Ameraucana chicks for his birthday as an addition to his growing coop back home. Before they were delivered, the chicks spent a few cozy nights as house guests under my careful watch. Let’s be honest…I was an obsessive mother hen. By the time they left, all 5 had names and their own personalities. How could you not fall in love with a cute little puff-ball like this?
Those gals are all grown up and producing gorgeous blue “Easter eggs”. When it came time for my parents to place their chick order again this year, they asked me to house sit for 5 more from Eggplant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul. Yesterday I picked tiny golden Buff Orpington chicks and brought them home to cuddle and canoodle.
When it comes to local eggs, it doesn’t get any better than freshly snatched from the nest box. A growing number of Twin Cities households are recognizing the ease and enjoyment of keeping a backyard coop. Eggplant reported having orders for 150 chicks in the previous two weeks alone, suggesting that what started as a trend is growing into larger a backyard movement. Homegrown chickens not only offer the freshest eggs, but they also provide greater control over where food originates, insurance of humane care, and protection against large food borne illness outbreaks.
If you’re interested, Eggplant also offers regular Backyard Chicken classes for beginners learning about permit and coop requirements, cold-climate care, and special considerations for urban poultry. There’s also an annual Twin Cities coop tour in September if you’d like to check out how other owners are supporting backyard flocks.
Once you hear the quiet little chirping of a box of baby chicks, I’m willing to bet you’ll soon have some house guests of your own. Enjoy the long holiday weekend Minnesota. Summer’s officially here.