Oh, the personalities of the creatures here on the urban homestead – now we know what they did for entertainment in the “old days.” Forget cable, we got critters.

Speaking of critters, like to send a BIG “Thank You” to Nor Cal homesteader Julia for passing along a dvd set of All Creatures Great & Small. Thanks! They will certianly be enjoyed and treasured. Also for those of you who sent letters and cards after the passing of our duck Amy. We truly appreciate your being there for us during that very sad time.

Raising and keeping animals is a big responsibility – sometimes even more time consuming than the garden! For us city folks, the health and welfare of the animals are basically on our shoulders. Not only that, but keeping a barnyard in the backyard in an urban environment is about the welfare of the animals and the relationship with the neighbors. One of the 10 Elements of an Urban Homestead is to follow the golden rule. We try to live by that rule, strive to be good neighbors so the maintenance and upkeep of the animal compound is critical – in fact very important and high on the chore list.

Now that it’s trendy to keep chickens, ducks, goats and rabbits, we rather not see a backlash due to unkempt conditions or discarded animals sent to shelters when folks realize they bit off more than they can chew.

Case in point, this recent article:

Some say fie on fowl in the city

... keeping them is not as cheap, green, humane or neighborly as some in the Church of Chicken would have you believe.

read full article

Ok, that disclaimer’s a bit on the serious side.  Now, let’s have a bit of fun! It’s been awhile since we posted some goat mugs – so enjoy!

Lady Fairlight lounges


Blackberry chews up what she had for lunch


What do your critters do that make you SMILE?


  1. Dog Island Farm says:

    First off, WOW! That article you referenced has a lot of misinformation in it. You can build a decent 4-hen predator-proof coop and run for less than $150 with a saw, a screwdriver and a hammer. It doesn’t need to be pretty (trust me, chickens don’t care), which I’m assuming the couple that spent over $1,000 on one did. Second, while yes, the hens squawk, they mostly do it in the late morning hours and they aren’t nearly as loud as a dog, who will bark all hours. Smell and rats are only problems if people let them be problems. Keep food in metal pales and in hanging feeders, collect eggs every day. Make sure their run is large enough so it isn’t overrun by manure. Clean out the litter once a week unless you do a deep litter cover. Ok, I’ll end my rant here. LOL

    • Laura says:

      @Dog Island Farm, Freecycle is a great place to look for materials to build chicken coops. My husband actually dimantaled a chicken coop at someone’s house and rebuilt it at our house. He also got some free tin at one house and they sent their chickens back too once they figured out what he wanted it for.

      • Dog Island Farm says:

        @Laura, Exactly! There are ways to cut cost when building animal shelters. We recently built a 16’x 8′ barn containing a food storage area, the chicken coop and the goat barn for about $300. About 80% of the materials were repuposed, from the concrete deck footings for the base, to the old redwood split rail fence that was going to head to the landfill that my husband acquired from the corporate park he works in.

    • Anais says:

      @Dog Island Farm: I know, can’t believe how folks think they have to spend BIG BUCKS. Talk about “green status” ;( I agree, one has to be a responsible chicken keeper. Though chickens can take care of themselves, it’s our job to take care of their surroundings so that flies, rats and other pesky critters aren’t attracted to the food and poop. Here on the urban homestead we have a daily morning routine of the animal compound.

  2. Carl says:

    Can I use the “Burp” picture of Strawberry for my Facebook profile picture.
    It is a classic! Love it…
    please let me know…


    • Anais says:

      @Carl: Sure. But just remember that her name is BLACKBERRY 😉

  3. Joan Gray says:

    Chickens are just as clean as the people who keep them. Clean attentive farmers make happy farms and chickens. When I lived on the farm we never had a problem with smell because we took care of the coop. Nothing makes a happier hen than a clean nesting box to lay eggs in, which by the way is when they make their squawking noises. My grannie used to tell us that was to let us know what a good bird she was for giving us an egg. People have forgotten to enjoy the slower pace of farm life and the joy of raising your own food. Those are the guys who complain about the little hens of back yard farmers.

    • Anais says:

      @Joan Gray: My sentiments exactly. There are chicken “havers” and chicken “keepers” and it’s our job as animal stewards to be good keepers. 😉

  4. Wendy says:

    I have to agree with the comments about the article. My chickens aren’t loud, except when they’ve laid an egg, and frankly, my neighbor’s dog is louder than my chickens, which only squawk during the day. At night, one wouldn’t even know they’re here.

    As for the costs quoted: we figured out that we’re saving a couple hundred dollars per year by having our laying hens – and that’s including all of the housing, fencing, feed, etc. Our “predator proof” coop cost us $200 to build, and that’s because we decided to make them a covered enclosure to use during the winter. This year we fenced in an area of our yard for them to use (to keep our gardens safe), and it was still not even close to what the article quoted as the cost for housing.

    • Anais says:

      @Wendy: If chickens start to live in a house that cost just as much as a car then we have a SERIOUS problem. LOL

  5. Tamlynn says:

    Nitrate-free colds cuts and Egloos? Those chickens have it good; mine have to scratch and peck for wild bugs and live under plywood! Thankfully, my neighbors have been very tolerant of my (legal!) city chickens. I hope it is a trend that continues to spread. There are always irresponsible pet owners, so the responsible ones need to be more outspoken.

    My hens make me smile when I walk into the back yard and they come running towards me. Cracks me up every time.

    • Tamlynn says:

      Forgot to say I love the All Creatures Great and Small tv series! The books are also great, I think I own nearly everything Herriot wrote.

  6. Chris says:

    My now geriatric house bunnies (7 years and 13 years old) do kissing and kissing and kissing and kissing .. me, hubby, their two small stuffed rabbit play toys. They also do a bunny excited dance along with cute little vocal bunny sounds when they get their daily treats. Nap time is the “i’m in bunny dreamland” look. When visitors come, it’s groom, groom, groom themselves, like “look at ME. I’m the pretty bun”. Fuhget about it. I’ve had them since babies, a lot of extra work now, but they have healthy appetites, good digestion and such sweet, expressive personalities even in their old age.

    • Anais says:

      @Chris: Ahhhh, how cute. I miss bunnies. But we have two goatsies now. Thanks for sharing about the LOVE bunnies. 😉

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