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A Queen Anne Family's Small-Scale Chicken Farm



Photo: Joshua Huston

 

Chances are that if you live within city limits you may have heard tell of an “urban chicken farm.” By law, the city of Seattle allows eight domestic fowl on a lot up to 10,000 square feet. These little coops are quite the draw for onlookers, kids and lovers of omelettes alike. One of these small-scale fowl farms — and a stylish one to boot — belongs to Aubrey and Andrew Rosenkranz and their kids Sadie, Ruby and Huck of Queen Anne. 

Photo: Joshua Huston

Ruby, Sadie and Huck with their brood.

The Rosenkranz family took up chicken farming after becoming interested in some friends’ backyard birds, who seemed to embody the perfect blend of household pet and sustainable food source. “We really liked their garden and coop, so we started talking about building one too,” says Aubrey. “There was a perfect spot right in front of our house that we couldn't do much else with. So we took the kids on an urban farm tour one Saturday afternoon and ended up driving out of the city to buy some chicks.” 

Photo: Joshua Huston

The Rosenkranz brood enlisted the services of master carpenter Ryan Parshall at Cedarcraft Construction to build them a custom, 80-square-foot chicken coop from reclaimed cedar and Douglas fir to house the chickens and protect them from predators. The structure also boasts a living roof made of succulents and other plant life to enhance the chickens’ decor. “That's my favorite feature,” says Aubrey. “But it was also fun to decorate with old farm tchotchkes.” 

Photo: Joshua Huston

The coop currently houses three hens, chosen for the egg color that they would eventually lay. Foo Foo, an Ameraucana, lays a blue-green egg. Cindy Sherman, a Golden-laced Wyandotte and “bossy CEO,” lays a light-brown egg, and Shiny, an Australorp, lays a dark-brown egg. 

Photo: Joshua Huston

While the chores aren’t too time-consuming for the kids, the rewards are great. Sadie, Ruby and Huck are able to let the chickens out to play in the yard, collect eggs and feed them dried mealworms “because they go crazy for them and will follow you anywhere,“ Aubrey says. ”It's nice that they are exposed to the whole cycle of life — we did lose Sadie's chicken, Moonlight — and are able to see one natural source of a food that we eat a lot of (eggs).” 

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The kids are especially enamored with the birds.

Not only have the Rosenkranz kids experienced positive outcomes from the family’s project, the surrounding community has reaped the benefits as well. Children are especially enamored, but even adult neighbors come from all around to ask about the chickens and say how much they love hearing them in the neighborhood. “The neatest gain that was unexpected,” Aubrey says, “has been the attraction of new friends.”

For more about families doing urban farming in Seattle check out:

Urban Farming for a Growing Family 

Tips and Tricks for Creating an Urban Farm

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