For the Birds: Urban Roost

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“For me, I can only imagine it’s much worse than when I grew up,” said Daryll Peirce. “Hot dogs were hot dogs, not pork, not meat, not anything, they were hot dogs. And I would eat them cold two at a time out of the fridge after school.”

Daryll opened the fridge and pulled out a tray of eggs. His wife, Rosy, stood next to him holding their 2 year-old daughter, Poppy. “Everything now is prepackaged and totally removed from the source with colro, texture, ingredients, shiny packaging, cartoons, etc.” He held up a tray of eggs. The colors ranged from red, to orange, and green. Rosy explained that each of their chickens was a different breed, and so produced different colored eggs.

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“I’ve always felt the need to be close to my food source,” said Rosy. “I guess I sort of see raising chickens like an extension of gardening. I try to grow fruits and veggies, so why not try to grow eggs as well?”

Daryll agreed that the chickens were “97% Rosy’s deal”. Having grown up near downtown Denver, Colorado, Rosy liked the idea of living on a farm. Her earliest memories in Denver were of her and her mother planting their backyard garden. Now settled in a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco, her interest in organic farming has grown in the couple’s backyard. With their landlord’s permission, she weeded the backyard and started a compost bin for their apartment building.

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The chickens came soon after. Rosy had read an article about someone keeping chickens in Portland, and she liked the idea. She researched hens based on egg color, breed temperament, productivity, feather color, and availability from local vendors. Their landlord’s approval to expand her garden to chickens was won over by her backyard garden, and the couple adopted three chicks from Biofuel Oasis in Berkeley, and one from a breeder in Mill Valley. They named the four hens after the four Golden Girls, Rose, Dorothy, Blanche Devereaux and Sophia.

The Golden Girls’ coop rests on top of a slope next to the backyard garden. Inside, each hen has a nest where they lay eggs every morning. A window on the side of the coop lets the family check in to see how the hens are roosting, and another door opens on the back to collect eggs. In the afternoon, the chickens are let out into the yard to peck, and Poppy enjoys running around with them.

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Educating the next generation about their food source was a goal for Daryll and Rosy that came together naturally. On days when Daryll and Rosy are away, the chickens are watered, fed, and cleaned up after by other children residing in the building. Thanks to the kids, word in the neighborhood about the chickens spread, and field trips to the coop have started.

A recent field trip of ten-year old children proved a huge success. “They loved it and had so many questions and were really intrigued and had a great time,” said Daryll. On how the kids view their food source, he comments, “I just don’t think any kids think of food’s source when they are eating, or even about food at all. It’s more about sustenance and eating as fast and conveniently as possible so they can get back to being kids.”

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The couple hopes to someday expand their San Francisco organic farm by adding a duck, or a pair of goats.

Megan Wolfe
About the Author:
I'm a San Francisco photographer and writer currently based in the South. My work is inspired by weathered history, interviews with locals, and wanderlust.


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