Backyard Chickens and Their People

Just like chickens, poultry owners are a fascinatingly diverse group. From novelists to chefs, find out who's keeping chickens and how they're incorporating them into their garden design.
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Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Andrew Sisk

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Jason Travis

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Photo By: Photo by Angela West

Great Pets

Ayn Collins and her daughter Erica (pictured) keep Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Golden Polish and Silver Laced Polish in their backyard Atlanta chicken coop.

Quality Time

Aynn Collins has kept chickens for three years. "I love raising them from babies, then the magic of when they lay their first egg!" she says.  "I think it's amazing to have pets that earn their keep.  There are times of the year when each hen lays an egg a day.  Fresh eggs are so tasty."

Feathered Friends

"I love how the chickens follow me around the yard when I let them out of their coop for some 'free-range' time," says chicken owner Aynn Collins. Her daughter Erica is shown with one of their collection of backyard chickens.

Chickens Are Hot

How popular is chicken-keeping in Aynn Collins' neighborhood? Even the local Ace hardware now sells chicken feed.

Kissing Cousins

Part of the fun of having chickens is the entertainment value they provide. "The Buff Orpington chicken, Ace, often comes all the way down from the coop (which is at back of yard) and pecks on the back door," notes Aynn Collins. "It is hilarious. We think she is just asking for treats. Also interesting...we have three large dogs that don't bother the chickens at all. They are often all roaming around the yard together."

Self-Watering

Aynn Collins' backyard koi pond is a popular attraction for both chickens and the people who love them. "We love the koi pond," admits Aynn. But they aren't the only ones. "Funny the chickens enjoy lounging by the pond when we let them in the yard. The often drink from it."

Waterfall in Aynn's Back Yard

Chicks

When she's not writing bestselling novels, The Help author Kathryn Stockett can be found in her stunning, cozy garden oasis in the middle of Atlanta where a chicken coop, vegetable garden and gorgeous containers define a space perfect for entertaining and outdoor living.

Garden Girl

One of Stockett's chickens strikes a contemplative pose.

Pecking Order

These city chickens have been known to roam into the house at times.

Egg Entrepreneur

Kathryn Stockett's daughter Lila collects eggs from the family's chickens which she carts via little red wagon, to neighbors' homes to sell.

An Egg Rainbow

Lila displays an array of multi-colored eggs from her family's chickens.

Backyard Charm

A beautifully-designed chicken coop blends beautifully with the cottage-chic style of Kathryn Stockett's backyard.

Serene Space

An expansive back porch flows from the bungalow's living room and offers plenty of space for entertaining. Stockett's 1920s bungalow was brought into the 21st century with the help of architect D. Stanley Dixon and designer Caroline Normark.

Rustic Chic

Graphic, spiky succulents are the perfect punctuation atop these rustic wooden planters.

Inviting the Outdoors In

Large glass and metal doors open the kitchen to the backyard garden.

Community Coop

A group of friends in Atlanta's Cabbagetown neighborhood decided to team up to erect and maintain a communal chicken coop. From left to right: Monica Ponce, Bilal Sarwari, Nicki Keys and Taylor Massey.

Chicken Epaulet

Atlanta resident Taylor Massey with some of his neighborhood chickens.

Chick Magnet

Atlanta resident Bilal Sarwari.

Birds of a Feather

Sharing the chicken cost and chores among neighbors is a great way to approach backyard chicken raising. When vacations come up or work schedules interfere, there is always someone around to look after the chickens.

A Breed Apart

Among the chicken breeds in the shared Cabbagetown coop: Ameraucanas, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons and Copper Marans.

Coop Co-op

This communal chicken coop is a popular feature of this Atlanta neighborhood. "People tell me they love to come stop by as they walk the dog, some bring their kids to watch and others like to feed them their vegetable scraps," says one of the coop's members Monica Ponce.

City Chickens

Brian Maloof is the owner of the famous bar and politico hangout (called "One of the Best Bars in the U.S." by Esquire), Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia where dignitaries from President Obama to Jimmy Carter—who first announced his intention to run for governor—have supped and played darts. Maloof is also an innovator who keeps chickens on the bar/restaurant's roof in the heart of the city.

A Man and His Chicken

How well are Brian Maloof's chickens—like this bantam rooster—treated? For one thing, they eat an all-organic diet. For another, their coop is air-conditioned.

Pass the Mixed Field Greens

To supplement their usual diet, Brian Maloof feeds his chickens the kind of fancy mixed greens you'd find at your local organic market.

Prime Perch

Brian Maloof built his chicken coop by hand using upcycled materials. He serves the chickens' organic eggs in the restaurant's dishes.

Chicken Tribe

Twenty-four chickens call the Manuel's Tavern rooftop home.

Coop With a View

This lovely rooftop chicken coop is home to a variety of urban Speckled Sussex and Australian Australorps.

Repurposed Smarts

Ever-resourceful Manuel's Tavern owner Brian Maloof repurposes materials from the restaurant, like a bulk plastic container for feta cheese into a waterer in his chicken coop.

Farmer Brett

The Atlanta History Center maintains a working, historically-accurate Smith Family Farm on their property where Brett Bannor tends the chickens and gardens in period dress.

A Rooster Among Hens

The circa 1845-1850 Smith Family Farm features Rhode Island Reds. In the Antebellum era hens only laid in spring and summer. Through selective breeding, today's chickens lay eggs year-round.

Chicken Whisperer

Historic farmer Brett Bannor cradles one of the flock of Rhode Island Reds kept on the Atlanta History Center's grounds to teach visitors about early Southern farming and growing traditions.

Classic Coop

The historic Smith Family Farm chicken coop features a sheltered chicken run to offer chickens respite from the intense Southern sun.

The Kids Are All Right

In addition to chickens, the Atlanta History Center's Smith Family Farm features goats, which help give visitors the sense of what a historic Southern homestead might have looked and felt like.

Kitten Patrol

An early form of organic pest control, cats and kittens, great for keeping vermin at bay.

Southern Farm

The Smith Family Farm at the Atlanta History Center maintains a garden where staple crops that would have been grown on a Georgia farm during the Civil War years are maintained.

Gwendolyn and Her Chicken

Gwendolyn and Brennan Washington operate a thriving sustainable farm, Phoenix Gardens, in Lawrenceville, Georgia where they grow crops for farmers' markets, operate a CSA and keep chickens.

Wearing Your Heart on Your SUV

The Washingtons proclaim their love of the local in the bumper stickers ornamenting their car.

Phoenix Chickens

The Phoenix Gardens flock.

Young Chicks

An array of pullets on the Washington farm.

Fresh-Picked

Carrots freshly pulled from the ground at Phoenix Gardens.

A Garden in the City

Located in the shadow of skyscrapers, Atlanta's Truly Living Well farm hosts a resident chicken wrangler, educator and farm director, Amakiasu Ford-Howze.

The Power of Footwear

A longtime educator, Truly Living Well farm director Amakiasu Ford-Howze knows the importance of the right footwear for a long day spent on your feet and helping with programs like the farm's summer camp and on-site farmers' market.

A Bird in the Hand

Amakiasu holds one of the resident chickens on the Truly Living Well farm in the historic Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta. To see more about Truly Living Well farm, check out this video from HGTVGardens.

Flower Power

Part of the appeal of the inner-city farm Truly Living Well is how it helps people who might not necessarily have access to healthy produce in "food ghettos" but also educates children about the value of eating well.

Well-Dressed Rooster

The exotic plumage of the resident Truly Living Well rooster is a lovely, surprise in this urban garden in the heart of Atlanta.

Lovely Landscaping

A sliver of the beautiful landscaping that ornaments the resident chicken coop and run shows the investment in not just growing, but making things attractive at Truly Living Well.

Chicken Keeper

Atlanta artist Ann-Marie Manker keeps a variety of chicken breeds in an atmospheric coop in the French garden inspired backyard of her Inman Park home.

Home for Animals

Ann-Marie Manker had added plants to the fenced chicken run to create a beautiful environment for her flock of 10 chickens and a rabbit, but they ate them within a week. Now, it’s just dirt, dust and a lot of poop, she says. The coop is from GreenChickenCoop.com.

Pet-Friendly

As a kid, Atlanta artist Ann-Marie Manker cared for hamsters, parakeets, a rabbit, a dog and a cat. Now, she has chickens. Her brood includes Olive, Greggs (whose name comes from combining “green” and “eggs”), Grits, Buffy, Chipmunk, Popcorn, Allie, Zesto, and Nugget, the rooster.