I would bet good money that my friend John (who’s working on our house) knows more of my neighbors than I do. He introduced me to Sam and Elsa, awesome people who have what you could call a mini-farm on Beach 92nd street. Last week, John informs me that we are taking care of their chickens for 10 days while they are away. My immediate response was “Are you kidding me?!??! I know nothing about chickens except that they taste great as parmesan!”  I go into panic mode. “What if we lose one? I’ll go to that live poultry place in Bushwick to replace the bird – no one would ever know.” John notices my rant spiraling into worst case scenario mode. He stops me!  “Don’t worry, everything will be just fine. It’ll be fun!”
Urban Farm in Rockaway

He was right, not only are all 6 chickens alive and well, but I truly enjoyed my chicken-sitting experience.  I also learned a lot about chicken behavior.

They love eating tomatoes and bugs.

Chickens in Rockaway

If there’s danger they know to run back into the fenced coop area. If they sense trouble, the chickens are back in the coop safe zone within seconds. This is Mango, she likes to play with the chickens.

Mango the Cat

I’m not sure if this is true of all chickens, but these gals line up on the roof of the pen at sundown. It’s adorable. They all snuggle on top waiting to go inside. To get a chicken in the coop, you grab her close to the neck (so the wings can’t flap), scoop her up and put her in. That’s it. It’s easier than it sounds.

Besides letting them out in the morning, collecting eggs and making sure they’re safe in the coop at night, you need to give them fresh water, chicken feed and some garden treats like cabbage, tomatoes and bugs.

I never thought I would have interest in having a coop myself but now I do. It’s a sustainable investment. You can give chickens table scraps, they produce eggs and you can use the manure for your garden – a full circle operation!

Urban Farm in Rockaway

To learn more about chicken care check this out.