A Hipster's Guide to Farm Animals
A letterpress creation by Cindy and Greg Iverson at Letterpress Central
But before you start building a coop, knitting a collar, or prepping the first round of slop, there are a few things you should know. We consulted a few local experts and farm animal owners. Not all were hipsters. In fact, most weren't. But there was no denying the rising popularity of these backyard pals.
Word to your hipster. Here are a few tips from the originals:
5 Things a Hipster Should Know Before Owning a Chicken
C.M. Redding is a New Times contributor who's had his fair share of farm animal adventures (though mainly in the kitchen with his cooking/dating column, Forking). Last year, he built a pig-roasting pit, and this year he decided he'd one-up himself and attempt a coop. Here's what he learned (in his own words, of course):
Commitment is hard enough for normal Joes. But for the hipster, commitment goes on as easy as some hat that went out of style in the '30s.
What I'm getting at is that buying chickens should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Do your research and understand those bitches (no cocks allowed in city of Phoenix). Your chickens could live for more than a decade! You aren't just raising an animal for eggs -- you're raising a pet. Hell, just take a quick look inside any hipster coffee hovel and by the sheer number of tattoos in the joint, you'll understand what I mean about hipsters being okay with committing to something (albeit trite).
4. Cash Money
Most every good feed store has chicks for sale this time of year. Sure, the little girlies are only $2 to $3 each, but then you need all the gear. Let me explain in hipster terms: If you start drinking $1.50 Pabst Blue Ribbon, you start out thinking it's cheap. But after your initial investment, you will soon start buying more toilet paper, then a padded toilet seat, then aspirin, then moist wipes, then tums, then Zantec , then Prilosec, etc. Before you know it, you're out a lot of bread.
If you're walking into any feed store to buy chicks, be prepared to spend at least $60.
You will need the following:
One water feeder
A red bulb
A 250-watt lamp
Bottom line: bring your credit card
3. Cool Chicks
If you've never owned a chicken, then prepare yourself to be stunned by how cool they are. I imagine it's like dating a funky hipster chick -- no matter how hard you try, you won't be as cool as that sexy-ass chick.
Each breed has different attributes, and you should figure out what you want before you buy, So do your research. Research for a hipster should be easy, because if there's anything I know about hipsters it's that they love to find out as much obscure shit, on just about anything, as they can.
For example, Rhode Island Reds are prolific layers and are hot redheads. Black Australorps are great layers too, and they have a funky iridescent green shimmer to them. Ameraucanas lay the funky green looking Easter eggs. The differences go on and on. Some breeds have hair-like feathers, some have fancy feathers that look like boots, and some even have purple skin. Heck, the babes come in every shape and size, and they're all cool. In no time, you will be opting to sit in your backyard hanging with your girls -- instead of muscling that stupid fixed-gear bike up to the bar for some shitty band and a bunch of bitches strutting around in their spring garb that was hip in 1945.
2. The Coop
Coop, Crib, Castle -- by any other name, you need to build these babes a home. After building my own 8-foot-by-10-foot beauty, and dropping nearly $750 bucks, I realized I could have gone some different routes.
In hipster speak, why spend all the dough on a "homebrew" kit if all you're really trying to brew is PBR? If you don't let your ego get in the way, you can actually buy a pre-made coup for $250 or less, especially if you find a bargain on Craigslist. I know 200 bills ain't cheap, but it will save you a lot of time and sore muscles!
For those of us who have the original hipster DNA, meaning that with an iPhone, iPad, iBook or Macbook, you can figure out how to make anything then buying something pre-made isn't an option. If you have to beat your own drum, then get online and look at some basic coop plans. With just a hammer, saw, and stapler, you can easily build something on your own for $150 bucks.
Chickens are great, but aren't we all really just after the eggs? I love my chickens, but, man, I live out fantasies of picking up my babes to find golden nuggets to fry up on my antique hipster cast-iron pan.
It will take five to six months for your chickens to start laying eggs, so be patient. Then the hotties are in their prime laying days from six month until two years. Most layers will give you an egg a day until that two-year mark. After two years, they will start slowing down. It's sad, but in the egg industry, it's not uncommon to euthanize all the ladies after they start drying up.
They say there's nothing like an egg from a chicken in your backyard, and I have to agree. The yolks are firmer and darker yellow, and they're organic and an aphrodisiac (I actually made that last part up). What's really an aphrodisiac is telling that babe or dude whom you found sleeping next to you after a hard night of rolling your own cigarettes that you have farm fresh eggs to shove into their face hole.
p.s. The egg comes out of the same hole as the poop hole.
Quick chicken resources in Arizona:
- Western Ranchman in Phoenix has chicks for sale in a variety of breeds May through October. Call 602-992-3410 for availability.
- Pratt's Pets in Glendale prides itself the "the Unofficial Glendale Zoo." The store carries chickens, exotic reptiles, and small mammals. For more info, call 623-939-3326.
- Tempe Feed and Tack on University Drive carries a variety of chicken feed and employees are ready for your questions/disaster stories.
Next up, Goats...