Next-door neighbors create a co-op coop.
When Greg and Jill Gordon moved to Lakewood from Forest Hills, they weren’t too chicken to bring along their small urban chicken farm, but they hoped it wouldn’t ruffle the feathers of their next-door neighbors, Kathy and Don Carroll.
On the contrary, the Carrolls were thrilled about the neighborhood addition.
“My daughter had been begging me for chickens for years,” Kathy explains.
“They [the Gordons] hadn’t been here long, maybe only a couple weeks, when Greg walks over and goes, ‘So, we’ve got these chickens, and we really think the best place for the coop is between our two houses, but that’s kind of on your property line, so we don’t have to put it there, but we think it’d be better if we did. So how do you feel about that?’
“I said, ‘I’m totally fine with that if we can put a couple of chickens in there and you’ll teach me what I’m doing.’ And thus, the great chicken co-op was born,” Kathy says, laughing.
It’s not hard to raise chickens, Greg says.
“The hardest part is that everything wants to kill a chicken and chickens are very delicate,” he says. “So as long as you keep them safe and keep them fed and watered, they really take care of themselves.”
For safety’s sake, Greg, who works as a contractor, designed and worked with a friend to build a super-secure, metal chicken fortress he calls the “Coop Deville.” The structure can be seen from the sidewalk, which is why we found out about it. Nearby neighbors who walk by the Gordons’ house regularly, particularly with dogs, couldn’t miss it.
Kathy says having the chickens has been a great learning opportunity for their combined brood of five kiddos (not including the Gordons’ new set of twins). It’s given the parents an opportunity to chat with their kids about everything from the birds and the bees to the circle of life to the origin of classic phrases like “pecking order,” or “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”
“There are all these old terms that we use,” Greg says, “from back when raising chickens used to be a way of life.”
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