Local company paves the way to raise chickens in your backyard

Co-owners of Hens' Lodging Inc. Jennifer Barrett and Chris Rose holding their sign below the chicken tractor they are distributing.

Jennifer Barrett and Chris Rose have engineered a product that they believe is just the ticket for those wanting to raise chickens in their own backyard. Their company, Hens’ Lodging Inc., is a wholesale distributor of chicken tractors and movable coops, portable enclosures in which people can raise chickens easily and safely.

While the City of Seaside has for many years banned having chickens kept within the city limits, chickens are currently allowed in other jurisdictions along the coast, including Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart and Cannon Beach.

Barrett, a Seaside resident as is Rose, has petitioned the Seaside City Council asking to amend the city’s chicken ban ordinance - as long as the hens are contained in a chicken tractor or similar structure, but, so far, no changes have been made.

The tractors offer three to four hens protection from dogs, cats, raccoons, and aerial predators such as hawks and eagles. Having the chickens contained in this manner eliminates problems such as chickens roosting in neighbor’s yards, damaging landscapes, wandering in neighboring streets, and odors from droppings. As the tractor is moved from area to area, the chickens forage and create usable garden space from what was just weeds. The structures are bottomless so droppings go to the ground and are scratched into the soil. Noise is controlled by having only the four hens and no roosters.

Chickens have free-range to a degree within the confines of their movable coop and seem to enjoy the chicken tractor that offers both covered protection and an outdoor exercise area.

Why raise chickens? It’s a growing trend with many families – allowing them to have fresh eggs, chemical-free bug and weed control, free fertilizer – and friendly pets with their own personalities. The hen tractor which offers an enclosed area for feeding and roosting, also has a secure screened – in area for outside scratching and digging for the hens. The tractors are easily moved around the yard, keeping the chickens contained, while preparing the ground for planting and other uses. The unit is simply moved to accomplish larger area preparation.

Barrett, who grew up in Kansas in a farming community, and Rose, who has been a long-time local contractor, felt that this convenient method of raising hens would be popular here on the Oregon coast and elsewhere. A complete list of seven available models and pricing can be viewed and ordered online at henslodging.com. These easy to assemble units are delivered to your door. If assistance is needed (within a 50 mile area), it can be arranged by calling the company at 503 791-3666.

The company is located at 1000 S. Holladay across the street from the Seaside Police Department. Barrett, a master framer, points out that eventually she will develop the building there to include an art museum and gallery. For now, though, ordering the chicken tractors online is the most convenient way.