Josh Elliott is obsessed with chicks.
Three in particular -- Pot Pie, Salad Sandwich and Noodle Soup -- have turned his head. A pro freelance shutterbug turned urban chicken farmer, he has devoted a blog to their adventures (and misadventures) called Three Chicks a Day that will break your heart with cuteness.
It all started when a friend introduced Elliott to home-raised eggs -- "definitely better than store-bought" -- four years ago. When he and roommate Chrissy Morgan finally adopted three dewy little critters last week, he decided to snap their portraits daily until they are old enough to move outside in about four weeks. The blog features photos with brief notes about the chicks' modeling preferences: Noodle Soup, for example, is a "strutter."
Elliott is among a growing number of city dwellers from coast to coast building coops in their yards. They are holding social events and even chat groups where forums range from incubating and hatching eggs to lively discussions about predators and pests.
In Portland, Ore., where he lives, three chickens are the legal limit without having to obtain a permit. With the blessing of his landlord, a teacher who found the idea adorable, he began building a coop and enrolled in a weekend-long seminar called Chicken Fest at a local nursery. Classes included Chicken 101, coop-building and chicken health and boy, was it popular: "I went to one class and there must have been 30 people [there]."
Why is Elliott going through all this?
He's an egg addict who consumes about a dozen per week. With Noodle Soup & Co to supply him, he anticipates a yield of 15 to 18 eggs per week in summer and roughly half that during colder months. The hunger-inducing names are to remind him of uses for the birds should he be hungry when their egg-giving days are over: "We want to keep in mind that these are food," Elliott says. Eventually "they are going to stop producing eggs and in theory we are going to kill them."
He quickly admits, though, that he doubts he has the stomach to slaughter his little feathered friends. "We will worry about the coop now ... and about killing chickens in four years."
We don't blame him. Could you look Pot Pie in the eye and think about dinner?
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