Chicken Herders Wanted

Hen Waller denizens, January 2004
Our steering committee

Things have been pretty quiet on this blog lately, but we’ve been keeping busy, and we have some urban-agriculture-related news that some of our Portland-area readers may find of interest.

We’re starting a co-operative egg farm here in Portland.

The farm will take place in co-operation with the 47th Avenue Farm CSA and Friends of Zenger Farm. We’re planning to run 50-100 hens in a movable paddock, in rotation with the vegetable fields out at Zenger Farm.

We need workers to fill 14 shifts. There are morning and evening shifts available — the chickens will need one person, each morning and evening, to feed and water them, gather eggs, and so on. Each shift should take about an hour. There will also be occasional work parties. It’s a volunteer position with the benefit of a dozen eggs per shift, each week. We are asking for a one-year commitment from all workers.

If we have enough people involved, we plan to appoint several coordinators to be on call for questions and problems, and to help volunteers cover shifts in the event of travel or emergency.

We had an initial meeting on May 1 and we were happy to find a lot of interest. We do need some more people to make this happen. Once we get our work crew together, we will start this project immediately, and begin supplying people with eggs this summer.

This is a great opportunity if you would like to keep chickens but can’t do so at your home. Or if you want to learn how to do it yourself, without taking on all of the learning alone. Or, if you are an experienced backyard chicken keeper, here is an opportunity to expand your skills, and pass on your knowledge to others.

The project will gradually be meshed with a Heifer International grant over the next two and a half years. The chickens will be part of a movement to bring more farm animals to Zenger Farm.

If you’re reading this and getting all short of breath and excited, it’s because you have realized what you are seeing:

This is the farm of the future. It is small; full of a variety of plants and animals; within city limits; on public land; and run by citizen volunteer workers, who produce food for themselves and members of their community.

If this all sounds like something you would like to participate in, please come to a meeting on May 14, 2007.

This meeting is about chickens at Zenger Farm in a more general sense. There will be an opportunity to talk about our specific project, as well as information about a forthcoming meeting of all interested volunteers.

The meeting starts at 6:30pm and will be held at:
Pilgrim Lutheran Church
4244 SE 91st Ave
(1 block north of Holgate on SE 92nd; use basement entrance)

You may email us at egghead@henwaller.com with questions, too.

We will have another meeting soon thereafter to talk specifics with everyone who has expressed interest. Drop us an email and we will tell you about that meeting when we schedule it.

Fruitfully,

Holly and Patrick

Zenger Farm

Zenger Farm, Portland, Oregon

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9 Responses to Chicken Herders Wanted

  1. Drake says:

    You guys really know how to make a guy jealous… I’m in Minnesota at the moment for graduate school and I’m missing Portland terribly. The egg coop is a perfect example of what I miss about this town. If I were still in the neighborhood, I’d be first in line to volunteer for this wonderful project. Best of luck getting it off the ground!

    I’ll be back in SE Portland next summer and I’ll be very excited to contribute if I can!

  2. Patrick says:

    Drake, I am sure that we will be able to use your help next summer. Keep in touch.

  3. Novella says:

    yay! this sounds like a really great project. patrick and holly know how to get creative and get it going! this will be a great way for apartment dwellers to get in touch with their hens and eggs, and plus make friends with the other chicken wranglers. i can see this headed toward collectively shared goats and piggies!
    keep up the good work, it’s inspiring.

  4. Hula says:

    sounds cool! i might eat eggs again with this kind of option… something to think about.

  5. mary mcguire says:

    thanks so much for overcoming obstacles to get this volunteer project going. I will be moving to portland soon and look forward to carrying and water and participating with these chickens. I gotten over a lot of prejudices about chickens by being around yours. I know others will find a new place when they begin to help out. We knew that eggs were good but who knew they could be this good. Mary

  6. Angelina says:

    I haven’t checked back to your blog in quite a while. This is a very cool project and in some ways I wish I was in Portland so I could participate. I had just been thinking about something like this for McMinnville, and there you guys are, already doing it.

    Very exciting.

  7. site admin says:

    hi angelina

    part of the mission of this project is to develop a model for others to use. After we run this for a year or two and fine tune the process, we are going to put together some kind of document for others to refer to in starting their own co-operative small agriculture projects. Stay in touch and we can help you start one in McMinnville, in your neighborhood. And come visit once we get started, so you can see how ours is working.

    all best

    patrick

  8. Wynn says:

    Hi – I am thinking of starting an egg co-op in my backyard as I have had so much interest from people who want local, fresh food. I sell eggs but think a co-op idea is more creative and sustainable. Can you tell me more about what membership costs, how many eggs does that supply, etc.. Right now I only have 25 hens but room for 25 more. thanks in advance. Wynn

  9. Patrick says:

    Wynn

    That is a heck of a good question. The answer will take the form of a forthcoming post on this blog so stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

    Patrick

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