Flying the Coop | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Flying the Coop

Feature: Araucana Hens in Mill Creek. Eight-foot tomato plants in Rose Park. How Plucky Can Urban Farmers Get?



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Turn, Turn, Turn
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Join the Flock
Want to have chickens of your very own? Here’s the law:

• In Salt Lake City, domestic fowl licenses must be obtained from Salt Lake County Office of Animal Services (phone 269-7499). The fees run $5 per chicken but no more than $40 total.
• You can keep up to 25 chickens. More than that requires a special license.
n Chickens must remain at least 50 feet away from any building containing humans.
• The chicken coop must be whitewashed or sprayed with disinfectant in March, July and October.
• Droppings under roosts must be cleaned out every two weeks.
• Coops, runways and surroundings must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
• The full text of the ordinance can be found at, click on “Government,” then “Laws and City Ordinances,” then search “livestock.”
On the Tour de Coop, while visiting Jonathan Krausert’s lush back yard and his coop built from scrap materials he found on his part-time construction job, Gisela Gunderson is impressed. She has just moved to Salt Lake City from Portland and is looking to do something similar in her new, large back yard. She’s studied self-sustainability and is convinced it will help with the problems many believe await us in the future. “In such a small space, it just takes a little imagination,” she says, admiring Krausert’s fishpond and squash plants. “This is the way society needs to go.”

Regardless of social imperatives, there is something to be said for the warmth of the first tomato of the season freshly picked or the comfort in an omelet made from the blue-shelled eggs of Joann, your araucana chicken.

“Throw a few tomato plants in your yard, watch ’em grow. They’ll taste so good, the next thing, you’ll be growing corn, then lettuce. It just snowballs,” Krausert says with the authority of experience. “I don’t expect people to get on [my] scale. I mean, this is very labor-intensive, but it’s something to shoot at. It isn’t that hard to grow lettuce and potatoes. You could even do it in a planter.”

Krausert has never won the Rose Park Lawn of the Week award given to his neighbors up until about a year ago. It hasn’t bothered him much. Despite receiving praise from fellow large-scale gardeners, the Wasatch Community Gardens, friends, family and complete strangers, the lawn committee has never recognized Krausert’s obvious skill and devotion to his garden.

Maybe the civic-beauty police haven’t gotten around to him, or maybe it’s a subtle snub in favor of the well-manicured lawns and tame pink rose bushes of his neighbors—a testament to the staying power of old ideals no matter how many new eco-fads pop up. Because, if there’s one thing Krausert doesn’t have in his eighth-acre mini-farm, it’s grass.