Founders of the Kirkland Coalition for Backyard Agriculture, a Kirkland couple who lives in the Norkirk neighborhood, were active forces in changing the city’s regulations for keeping backyard chickens.
Now, after six months of enjoying eggs, feathers and clucks, Kathy Weber and Bill Shain want to spread the word to fellow Kirkland residents about the joys of keeping backyard chickens and tips on how to succeed.
“This is the season of the year to bring home the baby chicks,” Weber said. “We want to get to know other people in our community who share our values and interests so we can be resources for each other and learn from each other.”
The couple started the “loose” coalition in 2011 with about 20 active residents who were interested in health benefits of growing (and rearing) more food in the backyard. But Kirkland’s zoning codes were out of date at the time, so the group actively worked for more than one year to change city code.
As a result, in August 2012 the Kirkland City Council and the Houghton Community Council accepted the Planning Commission recommendation to allow up to three chickens at any single family residential property.
For lots more than 5,000 square feet, families may have one chicken for every 1,000 square feet their property expands. But only families with 35,000 square feet of property may have roosters.
Weber and Shain, who own seven chickens, plan to educate Kirklanders on these rules at a workshop from 1-3 p.m. March 10 at Kirkland Fire Department Station 22.
“It takes a certain commitment to care for another living being. Like a dog or cat, you have to take care of them,” Weber said.
Although they hope to share good tips on how to succeed with a backyard chicken farm for the workshop, Shain did say the coop’s location is key, which is why he built a mobile multi-level chicken coop.
Weber notes that positioning a chicken coop far from a neighbor’s kitchen window always helps keep a friendly atmosphere.
“The general consensus is that people are very positive about it,” she said. “We have lots of requests for eggs, so many that we can’t keep them all because people really enjoy them.”
The free workshop is for those interested and experienced chicken owners to come together to discuss best practices, how to find local resources, how to be a good neighbor and how to succeed.
For more information, email Kathy Weber at email@example.com or call 425-827-3478.