Burien Parks Offering “Backyard Chicken” Class Feb. 24

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Have you noticed something strange in your neighbor’s backyard lately? Perhaps you are one of many residents who have detected some unusual tenants in our communities:


“It’s like a return to simpler times,” says Burien resident Andrea Lindsay. “We get the best eggs, and the hens are great, low-maintenance pets. Our neighbors have never complained.”

In Burien, residents are limited to having a total of three fowl.  No roosters are allowed.

“It’s because of the noise factor,” says Code Enforcement Officer Jim Bibby. “Your neighbors don’t want to hear the rooster going off at 5 or 6 a.m.”

Although Bibby says the number of inquiries about chicken rules is not increasing, he does get calls consistently.

SeaTac residents are limited to a maximum of five chickens.  It’s a bit more complicated in Des Moines, where lot size is a consideration.  On lots 22,000 square feet or larger, 10 fowl are allowed, with increasing numbers allowed for every additional 11,000 feet.

Andrea Lindsay, long-time chicken keeper and WSU King County Watershed Steward, says chicken-keeping can go hand-in-hand with the trend toward simpler, healthy lifestyles.

“People are looking for ways to live more sustainably. Chickens can be natural companions to the organic garden and compost bin.  And, have you seen the price of eggs lately?” Lindsay says it’s not unusual to get an egg a day from a young, healthy hen.

Besides the environmental connection and abundant eggs, chickens also provide a creative outlet, says Lindsay.

“They’re unique pets.  It’s fun to see my friends discover that hens are the sweetest creatures, with so much personality.  My family has had a super time fine-tuning the coop-it’s pretty much a hen palace now.”

But chicken housing doesn’t have to be complicated.

“You don’t need a huge amount of space,” says Lindsay.  “Happy chickens need a sheltered place to perch, maybe in an old shed.  They need dirt to bathe and scratch in, access to sunshine, and protection from predators.  They do like a private place to lay eggs.”

Not everyone should keep chickens, says Lindsay.

“Chickens and dogs are not a safe combo,” she reports.  “And you can’t just get chickens and dump them in your backyard.  They need fresh water and feed regularly, and a clean coop.  If you don’t want to care for them, don’t get them.”

Burien Parks and Recreation Department is offering a class February 24 called “Keeping Backyard Chickens” (aka “Coop the Chicken Poop!”).

Cost is just $6 per person.

Click here to register, or call 206-988-3700. For more information, click here.

To whet your appetite for the class, here’s a video of someone’s pet chickens:

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