• angry_sugar_mama

    chickens ROCK!

    sister has 5. great eggs, cool coop, totally fun.

    sister has 3 dogs: huge choc. lab (or something close), a bona fide pure bred bird hunting dog and a blood hound. none of the dogs touch the chickens.
    our very weird and eccentric australian shepherd doesn’t touch the chickens.

    armstrong is afraid to admit he would fall in love with them. that’s all.

    and they eat bugs.

  • Shannon_G

    Yes, they eat bugs, like ticks then you eat them and their eggs – YUMMO!

  • mandypants

    funny you should write about this. Our backyard is big enough for chickens and my husband went on ahead and build a coop and a run. We now have 3 chickens, 3 ducks, 20 quail eggs, 18 chicken eggs, and 7 pheasant eggs in an incubator. When they hatch, do you want a couple? They are cool silkie chickens.

  • lady m

    I took the leap to Dooce community member so I could say:

  • catballouu

    You know, Heather, my husband and I have chickens and a coop/run and 2 dogs. And we live in SLC. If you really are interested and want to see how we do it, you are welcome to come by and take a look-see. We’re over by West High School. The girls free-range all day, we get eggs daily, they pretty much put themselves away at night and we have a really low bug population. Those are the highlights, but it’s not difficult. Every situation is going to be unique, esp with Coco (and maybe Chuck?). The hens are fascinating little creatures, fun to watch, and you will never go back to store-bought eggs (even organic store-bought) again after you have home-grown eggs.

    Bring Armstrong and the kids. We’ll send you home with some eggs to try, if you want.

    Also: http://www.backyardchickens.com
    IFA for feed and straw bedding (which makes great mulch/compost).

  • The Fairy Godmartyr

    Just make sure you stay away from hatchery catalogs! Talk about your chicken porn. My four year old took my catalog and hid it under the bed so he could look at it (which, if he’s going to have magazine full of breasts under the bed, at least it was chickens).

    If you want to live vicariously (or look for a way to convince Jon that it wouldn’t be that bad), I will probably be writing a lot about building a coop, brooding chicks, and figuring it all out over the next couple of months (www.FairyGodmartyr.com). I just ordered 13 chicks (four different varieties) that will hatch June 14th.

    Don’t give up…it took me almost a year of occasionally bringing up chickens before my husband finally agreed to it.

  • LynnLaw

    Jon did not pay me anything and I have never met him. But I do have chickens. On a very large ranch. And, I know that the excitable herding dogs cannot get enough of “virtual herding” from outside the coop, complete with bark, bark, bark. On our large ranch, we hear the excitable herding dog barking at our chickens from far off, as the house is far off from the chickens. Our closest neighbor is about a mile away. So it’s no big deal.

    Unfortunately, if you get chickens, you will end up having to make a decision between keeping them and Coco. Unless, of course you have a separate property at least a mile away. There’s no way she will be silent or calm about those chickens.

  • daly6823

    I spent some time taking care of chickens. They do give you eggs. That is the plus side. But you have to clean all of the chicken poop off them before you can eat them. When you reach your hand in the nest to get the eggs you have to try to keep from getting pecked. Also, they are not blessed with a shining intellect. I once went in to gather eggs and one had gotten her head stuck under the feeder and suffocated. Also they smell. Really bad. Also, the poop. Did I mention the poop? I know you are a pretty big fan of poop…. but POOP!!

  • meara

    Heather G.: “they go off the lay” when stressed or broody….I am SO using this when a headache strikes!!!

  • Sister Slick

    Yay! Chickens!

    You take the good with the bad. I’ve had chickens that will sit on your shoulder and … yes… they do kinda stink, and can be moody but aren’t most living things on the earth? Besides, fresh eggs DO taste better than store bought ones (once you’ve removed the poo from them). And chickens would be far less work than let’s say….a fainting goat!

    Sorry Armstrong.

  • Sern

    (Ignore the Sern, it should be Seren but I made a mistake when I signed up. So, yes.)

    GET HENS!! Seriously, they are great pets, their eggs are amazing and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you are not patronising those horrible battery egg farms. We have hens and have never regretted it.

    They don’t need huge amounts of room; ours are in a run that is 9 feet by 22, which is actually considered to be very big. If you just got a couple of hens, you wouldn’t need masses of room. We have a hen that is completely free range, wanders wherever she pleases, called Inara, who likes to come into the kitchen and gossip while I’m doing the dishes. But then our cats are terrifed of hens and never chase her. Dogs tend to be less afraid.

    A conservative estimate reckons that there are around a quarter of a million hen owners in the UK. That’s folks keeping hens at home, not commercial farms. Amazing, eh? Why not get bantams? They’re small, cute and also lay good eggs.

    GET HENS!! Jon, honestly, they’re not as difficult to look after as you’d think.

  • kummet

    My husband and I regularly refer to HGTV as our porn. As in, we’ve got a serious addiction. And then you announced your partnership with HGTV. Can you imagine how excited I was? Now it’s like porn with superpowers.

  • Lipstick Jane

    I think having chickens would be awesome. Unfortunately we can’t in our neighborhood in Colorado. But check out this awesome chicken coop porn: http://www.heatherbullard.typepad.com/heather_bullard_collectio/2010/03/our-chicken-coop.html/


  • debhayford

    Seriously think about this; they are a poopy mess. I raised poultry chickens one summer, the coop was gross and had to be cleaned frequently, when it came time for their demise, ugh, they pooped themselves shitless, and we had to dip them in this hot water to de-feather, and it was like poop soup and the smell… ahh memories…

    Anyway, my father owns chickens & guinea hens. The guinea hens are kind of cool, plus they eat ticks.

    Also, if your dogs arent used to them, they may want to eat them. I brought my dog over my fathers house when she was just a puppy and she immediately went for the kill – I had to tackle her and pull the poor bird out of her mouth.

  • sweet caroline

    YES! Definitely get chickens! I have always wanted chickens – I even looked into it when I used to live there (in the 9th and 9th area). You can have up to 5 chickens in the city, but no rooster (for obvious reasons). There was someone over on 1300S between 700E and 900E that had them, I could hear them when I walked to the park. Though they would have to be protected in the winter there, but you have a garage right?

    I AM getting chickens now that I live in San Diego. My cousin here has some that she raised and they are super tame – they even eat Doritos right out of your hand! One has imprinted on her dog and sleeps with him, actually ON him, at night – it’s hilarious. Tell your husband that once he has an omelet made from fresh eggs straight out of the backyard, then he’ll see why you want chickens. Plus, even though the poop is big and nasty, it’s amazing fertilizer! Oh, and they eat bugs! And will eat all your kitchen scraps! It’s a win-win, absolutely.

  • Kristi

    Ooo Ooo! This is right up my alley… I have 7 chickens in a coop my hubby built. I totally love them. Fresh eggs out the wazoo, and they are all hens, so no loud wake-up calls.
    I can’t let them out of their coop to roam free because I have a (full-size) Border Collie who would LOVE to eat them for a snack! So I pick grass to give them, along with cabbage leaves and old spinach leaves. It works great.

    Oh, and by the way, I tried that mini-pig-in-the-house thing. It did NOT WORK! She is now in her own pen outside. :P

    So from me is a YAY!! *sticks tongue out at Jon*

  • Woon


  • pekayzee

    I don’t know exactly how big your backyard is, but I would have to say,”Nay.” Have you ever cleaned out a chicken coop? It is like managing toxic waste, with a nitrogen content that is lethal! Not fun!

  • TravelSkite

    But then again, with hens you know The Day of Reckoning will come, and it can be traumatic: http://travelskite.blogspot.com/2010/01/rip-hoochie-mamma.html

  • venarain
  • vonfengler

    dude – so serious about chickens! my sister in law has two – Henrietta (actually has her own FB fan page – hello!!!) regular white chicken and then her new one is like a silky special kind of chicken named Meep Meep (the sound she makes) only check it out – turns out (LMAO)that Meep Meep is actually a rooster…whoops…complete and total buzz kill. I have to admit though she has fresh eggs everymorning – they actually have 3 dogs and have not had an issue (well except once when their rescued yorkie got into the coup) but i’m telling you chickens are seriously the new urban rage!

  • JessicaM


    Sometime the “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” side of me wins…

    My captcha: Not Salmon

  • carabella

    A big fat YES to getting backyard chickens. We have four chickens, a dog and a cat. They are WAY nicer than the cat and are a source of great comedy.

    There is some start up expense, but I imagine you might like the stylish little Eglu and pen. http://www.dwell.com/articles/eglu-by-omlet.html

    Just don’t expect Leta to help. Once the chicks grow out of the cute peep stage, they lose their luster w/ kids. I’m the chicken momma and that is just fine by me.

    They don’t require a lot of time, but you do need to maintain a clean environment. In addition to fresh eggs, the chicken poop would be great fertilizer for your tomato plant!!

    I’ll warn you that chicken keeping is addicting. There is a whole subculture of backyard chicken owners, but we’re pretty cool peeps. If you can talk John into it, check out Backyard Chickens website. It’s been a great resource to me.

  • mwv13

    YAY!! Definitely. Chickens are awesome. They’re easy to take care of, they’re fun for the whole family, they provide delicious eggs. What’s not to love? Just don’t get a rooster. Too noisy.

    You will have to keep the dogs away, though…

  • Amanda Brumfield

    Jon. They are just wittle baby chickens. They will follow you around the yard. They make pretty noises. They are soothing. Hold the wittle chickens. Love them. Love the chickens Jon.

  • solargarlic

    I’m hoping you’ll get those chickens you want…I mean, the baby chickens, they are so freaking cute!!! and fluffy!!! But the dog. Yeah, it will be a BIG problem with Coco. We have an 8 year-old mutt version of Coco, and the chickens have turned her into her normal crazy self on speed. Yesterday, a chick jumped out of their little tub…the dog sped over to see what was going on. I went into the gated chicken area and picked her up. I brought the chick over so the dog could say “hi”. The dog seriously tried to bite the chick’s head. Our dog is now pretty much quarantined from the chicks.

  • otherheather

    ok, first i love the irony of a mcdonald’s chicken nugget ad on the page whilst reading the comments. :)

    now, what if you could compromise? what if, say, the chickens could wear miniature clogs?

  • sgigs

    To further your livestock urges: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_orlean (sorry…someone already sent you this link)

  • amulle03

    I am shocked at all the chicken supporters. All I can say is EWWW!!! They are filthy little things and you’ll have feathers everywhere – ughhhhh!!

  • William

    You went from Tomatos to penises to cocks. Great post.

  • jbeslc

    I live in your valley. I just got the chicken bug after watching Food Inc. (have Jon watch that, maybe it will help your case) and decided I want to know where the hell my food is coming from.

    My husband got on board and next thing you know, I’ve built a bad ass Frank Lloyd Wright-esque coop and got myself 5 little chicks at the local IFA. They are no more difficult to deal with than my big-ass dog and will be ready to move out of my attic and into the coop within a month. Eggs in a few months. No problem raising them in SLC. You’ve just got to pick cold-hardy breeds (oh, I chose “docile” breeds since I’ve got a kidlet, too).

    Good luck.

  • Jessica Eiden Smedley

    Chickens are great, but I do worry about what Coco may do. Are you considering a run or an enclosure?

  • Brea

    Chickens and chicken coops have gained enormous popularity where I live – I know three families that have them.

    One of our friends has a bumper sticker on his truck that reads: My Pet Makes Me Breakfast Everyday. Pretty clever, huh? He also told me that they will eat anything – lizards, mosquito hawks, snails.

    He was recently barbecuing – chicken – and they went crazy for it, trying to fly up on the barbecue and everything. He literally had to kick them back. When I imagine him out there, with his tongs and barbecue sauce, kicking back his chickens…it’s a little disturbing.

    This same family gave us some eggs from their hens, and although I didn’t have one, the yolk was noticably different and richer in color. However, my husband said that they were bland.

    But it’s good to have fantasies! My porn for awhile was chameleons – I researched them online and even considered asking for one for Mother’s Day. They are facinating, low maintenence pets. Too bad we already have too many facinating, low (and high) maintenence pets as it is.

  • ShawnaC

    Have you seen the Eglu by Omlet? My husband totally wants one of those…


  • hanniy

    Chickens are the coolest things ever. We have eleven (down from 25 – lost some to weasels, hawks, etc). If you had three or four, you’d only need a very small coop, and if you don’t eat too many eggs, that may be enough to keep you from having to buy any. And the kids will LOVE them – even when the chickens grow up. My 3 1/2 year old loves to go out in the yard and follow the chickens around. And our three Goldens (mostly) get along with the chickens very well. But if you don’t keep the dogs separate from the chickens…well, let’s just say dogs love to follow them around and eat what they leave behind. Yuck. That’s the worst part – chicken shit breath on the dogs. Oh, but a big plus is that you can give them all of your table scraps – they eat anything (we don’t have a disposal, so that’s huge for us)! It’s a great incentive to keep the fridge cleaned out…

  • Petra

    My husband gave in! We started building our coop last weekend. We have two more weekends to get it done, because in 3 weeks I’m gettin’ me some chickens! And my yard is about the size of a postage stamp. If I can raise chickens in a tiny yard in San Francisco, you can certainly do it at your place! I’ve been promised they will be work than a dog (especially my emotionally needy boxer). And fresh eggs!!! Yum. Can’t wait!

  • Buttons McTavish

    Apologies if this link has already been posted by someone else, but if not, you’ll enjoy the wealth of chicken coop porn within!:


  • Twwly

    Chickens are great. We have a small farm and keep layers and meat birds. 4 layers, 100 meat hens, couple dozen turkeys….etc. Love it. My kids love it. They’re easy to care for and when you’re done with them they are just as easy to butcher as they are to keep.

    What is not great are dogs that bark at chickens. Even if you have a portable, predator proof chicken pen (we pasture our birds in these, fresh grass every day but protected from coyotes, my dog, etc) your chickens will be horribly stressed out if doggydoggertons yaps at them whenever it goes outside.

    I would very much suggest NOT combining chickens and a barking dog.


  • HumHumViz

    Much as I would love to have the fresh eggs, the chickens that my husband is trying to foist on us will have to stay his dream. We already have 2 dogs 3 birds and fish. The guinea pig died finally, I think from boredom and not having his cage cleaned. Every time we get a new animal everyone, including Dad, swears they will be taken care of.

    However, I now know better, they want the perks without the poops, and MOM needs to be on constant alert for starving animals and gross cages needing to be cleaned. Even our plants are at risk like our home is the place they come to die. So until I see some mad farmer skills, there will be no chickens, goats, pigs, or any other living creature who unwittingly puts its life on the line!

    P.S. My porn is camping supply catalogs, Art supply websites and ‘World of Interiors’ (fabulous design mag)

  • BunnyJames

    I think we need to take a few letters off the adorable-ness of chickens, which leaves us with: CHICKS.

    Baby chicks are fluffy, cute, 100% non-cuddly animals that are sweetly hilarious to watch cluck around and play.

    Chickens are beautiful, too, if you are into that. You cannot hug them and love them and name them George, but they are nice to look at.

    But, to get eggs, (and the multi-colored, green and blue and brown eggs ARE lovely) you need a rooster!

    And then you are setting yourself up for an episode of “When Animals Attack!”

    My parents have a dozen hens and a rooster, who is is a vile devilish being who has been possessed by a denomic force which causes him to attack when you go to gather eggs.

    The last time (and I now mean the LAST time forever and ever that I will enter a coop) I went in to get eggs, the rooster flared his feathers like a peacock, make a terrifying squak! and ripped through my JEANS to leave a gaping, ragged, 6″ tear on the back of my leg which was filled with chicken germs! AYE YIE YIE!

    Not to mention– they shit EVERYWHERE. You are up to your ears in other beings poo as it is–do yourself a favor and stay away!

    And the crowing at dawn! Don’t forget the crowing! Your neighbors will throw rotten eggs at your home and bags of flaming dog poo on your porch!(More poo to contend with!)

    You have a wonderful leverage over the clogs–keep it that way!!!! :)

    I sincerely feel this amount of exclamation points and capitalizations about this subject. You are too nice of a person to have to deal.

  • missilebird

    BunnyJames—You do NOT need a rooster to get eggs. Hens will lay eggs even if there isn’t a rooster within a 10 mile radius. You only need the rooster if you want fertilized eggs (i.e. chicks).

    Heather, I say go for it. I say this for entirely selfish reasons, as I would love to have some hens clucking about in my backyard, but they aren’t allowed where we live. So you can be my chicken porn. You know, for when http://www.backyardchickens.com just isn’t enough.

  • lesliepaige78

    my mom and i have discussed a few heirloom chickens. they are cute and heirloom, who doesnt want one of those?!! i think you should totally have a few chickens. tell armstrong the internet said so.

  • jon


  • dooce

    I think we should put it to a vote. Where only the “yays” count.

  • fidothefatcat

    Perhaps Armstrong should have his name changed again. He sounds more like a “Buzzkill McGee” to me. What’s wrong with chickens? Seems like a totally reasonable request to me.

  • OnceUpon


    More chicken porn from a fun blog I read: http://www.gsheller.com/search/label/chickens

    Hehe. Sorry Jon.

  • annehayes

    One of my good friends has a farm animal obsession and has had (in the past): miniature goats; chickens; ducks; turkeys; rabbits… she even had a miniature pig.

    She loved the chickens, but you need a well constructed coop or else they’ll get eaten at night. As for the pig, it was litterbox trained but still, it was a pig and smelled like a pig. :)

    As for the chickens – they don’t seem like a lot of work as long as you can segregate their “pooping” area from the rest of the yard and the kiddos….. I say Yay!

  • Athena

    Chickens! Yes! You can go out and get your breakfast eggs in the morning and they will be like no eggs you’ve had before!

    Not sure what you do with chickens in Utah in the winter though. Hmmmm.

  • jon


  • mandinka

    I wish I could have a chicken coop in my yard.
    You don’t know how lucky you are Jon.
    Besides, it’s the roosters that are noisy – if that’s your objection.