PORTAGE BAY GRANGE - Resources - Seattle, WA

Keeping Chickens
(the basics for raising a healthy flock)

our very best guidance is here.

Wash hands! Use caution when handling.
Don't Kiss the Chicks!
We know they're cute. We know you love 'em.
Practice Poultry Safety!

Chicken Health
More than just a little curious about chicken health? Wondering what the heck the PBG folks are talking about when they bring up "pasty butt"?  Check here for an awesome collection of really important health info courtesy of the publication/website Grit: Rural American Knowhow!
Cock-a-doodle don't!!

It happens to all of us urban chicken farmers....you come home with your adorable little chicks alight with visions of fresh eggs and lovely lady hens patrolling your yard for bugs and slugs.  Chicks grow fast.  They grow feathers and move outside and soon you start to hear their peeps turn to clucks.  And then one day you hear something odd, almost funny...the sound of a little cockerel trying to crow.....he sounds like a teenager in the midst of a voice change! Ha. But it's not so amusing for long! And with the recent legislation allowing for more backyard poultry, came a new rule that made roosters illegal inside city limits.  (Contrary to common belief, roosters were never illegal until the recent legislation.) This is simply something that comes with the territory.

City ordinance aside, the charming illustrations of the country rooster waking the sleepy household in the pre-dawn tranquility don't translate well to most of us city dwellers!  The truth is that hens, too, can make an enormous racket.  Especially after they lay their eggs or spend time foraging about independently.  This is so they can help guide themselves back to their roost.  Always chatting...hence that charming image of a group of ladies fussing and clucking over tea.  But a rooster is just that...and his aim is to boast and brag and bellow his particular charms to his flock of hens.

If you find yourself with a cock-a-doodle-doo this is what we recommend.  
  • advertise your roo for free on a place like Craigslist.  There are often people looking specifically for roosters of particular breed or type.  Be sure to advertise to the outlying communities as the rooster rules are different outside city limits.
  • We do have a relationship with a couple of rooster rescue folks who periodically absorb roosters into their flocks.  We can't place birds every day but there are opportunities every few weeks to hand off roosters and we may be able to coordinate a hand-off on specific dates here at the store.
  •  If you live outside the city limits you may grow your bird for meat...which is, of course an excellent option for us urban farmers.  We offer culling classes at the Grange and can also make recommendations.

Please do not bring your birds to our store unless prior arrangements have been made.  We will not be able to take them.  And please don't put them over our fence.  That's not safe for the bird, nor is it helpful in creating best practices for managing the occasional rooster in our midst! 

Every urban farm has to contend with and should be responsible for the rats they are attracting and populating. Here at PBG, in addition to stocking a variety of conventional rat traps, we are constantly exploring ways to control populations and manage infestations. Because nobody likes a rat!  Especially your neighbors.  Please, no offense to anyone who keeps a rat as a companion.  We are talking about serious pests who breed disease and scare even the toughest customer.  This may be the biggest concern people have about bringing chickens in to your neighborhood. 

But don't despair!  You may not know this but the City of Seattle is already dealing with a huge urban rat problem. And sustainable practices are known to be good things. 

So what do we do?

Yes, we keep chickens at home. And rabbits and ducks, too! And...we have rats!

The number one thing you can do right now is keep exposed, available feed to a minimum and eliminate night time feed exposure all together. Feed only what you know the birds will eat that day. This prevents feed from laying on the ground.  

Ask us about the 'Ratinator' and the other various rat control options we have in stock. 

Toll-Free livestock hotline 1-877-563-6789
These folks are there to answer virtually any question you might have about livestock; from how to deal with a sick chicken to what to do about your goats vaccines.  As a rule, you leave a message and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.  There is also a plethora of information about agriculture, gardening, organics, pest control.  Browse their website to learn more.

Please note: Here at the Grange we know a little bit about chickens.  But we are not experts.  We put links here on our website that address many of the questions our customers have come to us with but we do not specifically endorse information found on other websites as being accurate, scientific, proven or in any way complete.  For example, in the instance of a condition like Egg Binding, there is not general consensus on how best to handle this condition without the intervention of a veterinary doctor.  We will continue to add articles and documents that we find relevant pertaining to the subject but it is the responsibility of the chicken owner to use his/her judgment when addressing health problems.  We cannot be responsible for individual outcomes.

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