We have kept chickens for five years in a small urban town in Rhode Island. Our inspiration? A visit to Hawaii, where we enjoyed fresh eggs every day.
We started with buying a used coop in preparation of getting chicks the next spring. But to our surprise, the coop came with a hen named Sunshine. And our flock of chickens (not to mention our coop and technology) has only grown since then!
We had two hens for a few years, then added to our family. This also started the coop development for the girls.
The expansion included three coops, a covered run and a chunnel through our greenhouse to a recreational area for the girls to forage during the day. Even though we are surrounded by concrete on three sides of our property, we have experienced many predator attacks, therefore they aren’t able to free-range through the yard anymore.
We have a flock of Mille Fleur d’Uccle, Polish Frizzle, Blue Cochin, Ameraucana, Cream Legbar, Plymouth Rock, Brahma, French Copper Marans and a Silkie. They provide a variety of eggs (when they want to): blue, chocolate, white and brown.
Our chickens are very friendly and have even visited after-school programs in the past.
We utilize technology to care for our chickens. Wyze cameras show us their activity, and we share the links with friends to see them. Amazon’s Alexa plays music for them and also turns on the greenhouse lights.
A Wi-Fi enabled door is going in the chunnel that will close off the recreational area each night to keep the girls safe.
It’s not all technology here, though, and our chickens enjoy plenty of nature. We reside along the Pawtuxet River with a tree-lined view that overlooks a waterfall. We keep the girls entertained with Japanese knotweed, hanging lettuce and a chicken swing.
The coop has been repurposed with various materials and retrofitted with Brazilian cherry walls, French doors and teal blue accents. An old sink makes it easy to wash our hands when we’re finished playing with the chickens.
The hens have been a great addition to our urban homestead, where we grow our vegetables, plant 250 garlic bulbs a year and have more than 100 different variety of plants! — Andrea & David Rollin, West Warwick, Rhode Island
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Chickens magazine.