While many San Franciscans were racing (almost) naked through the streets we set out for an afternoon of chicken-gawking at the Alameda Chicken Coop Bicycling Tour.
We saw lovely hens and lovely gardens. I think this Speckled Sussex was my favorite. Her brown-and-white feathers were splashed with a dark iridescent blue-green. What a beauty!
It was interesting to hear how these urban farmers started keeping chickens. Many read ads on Craig's List, and got hens on a whim. I'm a fairly regular reader of the Farm and Garden section of Craig's List, and I can attest to the fact that people are always getting rid of chickens and roosters. There's a lot of trade in medical marijuana plants and growing gear, as well as horses and tack. Gotta love Craig's List for its sociological insights.
Alameda has wonderful architecture, and bike-riding gave us a great view of the lovely and often funky homes on the island.
All the homes that we visited had large back yards, so the chickens were allowed to roam freely. Some of the homes on the tour had elaborate vegetable gardens (with bees!), some had immaculately maintained lawns, some had beautifully planned (and labeled) native plant gardens.
The coops were great, too! Many people told stories about run-ins with raccoons, neighboring dogs, and hawks, and everyone had very secure night-time hen-houses. It was interesting to see how people addressed the challenge of keeping their hens safe.
I think many household pets were a bit jealous of the attention given to the hens.
Thanks to everyone who opened their yards and coops to the public! I know that Robb and I really enjoyed this day.