Can City Chickens Be Classy? For Realtor Alan Shaffer, The Answer is “DUH!”

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Shaffer calls his chicken coop "Palais du Poulets"

Clay Stapp & Co. Realtor Alan Shaffer and his partner had heard tons of buzz about backyard chicken keeping making a comeback before they decided to take the plunge. Of course, both Shaffer and his partner, Juan Barreto, had grown up with family birds.

“My grandparents, great grandparents, and later our family took over their flock as they got older,” Shaffer said. “Juan also had a flock growing up in Puerto Rico.”

So it was no big leap to build their own coop in their Kessler Plaza backyard.

Shaffer's backyard has a vegetable garden, a goldfish pond, a rain barrel, and, of course, a chicken coop.

“We just wanted to go greener,” Shaffer said. ” We use the droppings in our compost pile, which feeds our garden. We feed the chickens the excess greens and veggies from the garden.”

Shaffer said they found the plans for Palais du Poulet on BackyardChickens.com. The coop and run, which they built and finished themselves, is pretty amazing. Talk about giving the girls a worthy roost: Cedar shingles, plenty of natural light via hand-cut windows, and top it all of with a coat of Martha Stewart “Barn Red!” Shaffer then literally topped it all off with a chicken weathervane! So classy!

With the chicken coop in place, they just kept getting greener and greener!

“We also put in a rain barrel which we use to water the garden,” Shaffer said. “We put in an apple tree, fig trees, raised bed garden plots and a fish pond — that one’s just for pleasure, not eating the fish!”

Right now, Shaffer — aka The Condo Guy — has five Silver Laced Wyandottes. The chickens are a heritage breed, which has been around since the 1870s. They are truly great birds with wonderful personalities. I should know — I used to have a Golden Laced Wyandotte hen named Effa Manley.

Shaffer has five Silver Laced Wyandotte hens.

“Fresh eggs are amazing,” Shaffer said. “They are so much better than the store-bought ones.  The hens are fun to watch and just have around.”

They don’t keep the girls cooped up all the time, Shaffer said. But when they’re out in the yard, Alan and Juan have to keep a close eye on them.

“They can mess up the garden in a hurry, as Juan found out one day when he left them out overnight while I was out of town,” Shaffer mused. “They had full run of the yard for a couple of hours before going to roost.  He had a mess to clean up before I got home!”

I guess some people still think of chicken keeping as a low-brow country exploit. For instance, in the Park Cities, it’s strictly verboten. But as I see it, Shaffer’s gorgeous coop and beautiful birds can be an asset to a neighborhood.

What do you think?

 

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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Comments

  1. Alan Shaffer says

    Great article and thanks for letting people know about the fun of raising chickens in your own backyard! We were on the N Oak Cliff Coop Tour last year and met lots of great people from all over the Metroplex. One of our neighbors even has milk goats. I'm drawing a line in the sand over goats! Thanks again and love the Blog!!

  2. Alan Shaffer says

    Great article and thanks for letting people know about the fun of raising chickens in your own backyard! We were on the N Oak Cliff Coop Tour last year and met lots of great people from all over the Metroplex. One of our neighbors even has milk goats. I'm drawing a line in the sand over goats! Thanks again and love the Blog!!

  3. Jeff says

    Not in particular, but the topic of chickens came up when one of the realtors I was with said she had a client looking at a house on 5 acres in Wise County. Her client was sold on the house, but wanted to check what restrictions there were for discharging a firearm on his property.

    Just when you think you've seen it all!

  4. Jeff says

    Not in particular, but the topic of chickens came up when one of the realtors I was with said she had a client looking at a house on 5 acres in Wise County. Her client was sold on the house, but wanted to check what restrictions there were for discharging a firearm on his property.

    Just when you think you've seen it all!

  5. Brian says

    I first heard about people building chicken coops in their back yard for fresh eggs, but I couldn't believe it. Now with the move towards a more healthy living style, I see these coops from time to time. How would have thought? Those are some of the nicest coops you showed above that I've seen.

  6. Brian says

    I first heard about people building chicken coops in their back yard for fresh eggs, but I couldn't believe it. Now with the move towards a more healthy living style, I see these coops from time to time. How would have thought? Those are some of the nicest coops you showed above that I've seen.

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