Chickens vs. Chicken Shirts

Chickens vs. Chicken Shirts at the Pacific Northwest Poultry Association winter show

It’s been a long time coming, and now the time has come: a post about the meaning of the Chicken Shirt!

OK, I don’t want to get your hopes up–at least too far up–because what I’m about to provide is merely one suggested interpretation. Yes, it’s the creator’s interpretation, which might seem to carry some weight. Truthfully, though, once a creation goes out there into the world, its creator’s reasons for creating it become a bit irrelevant. Nevertheless, there really is a reason behind the shirt. And I’m about to share it.

So, everyone knows that urban chickens are phenomenally popular right now. If

Clifford the Big Red Chicken

Clifford the Big Red Chicken showing off at a summertime event

you don’t have them yourself, chances are that they’re on your block, or in your neighborhood…or at least in your neck of the woods. They’re everywhere! (Including, recently, the cities of Beaverton and Gresham–nice!) But…why?

Chickens are great companions. They are insanely entertaining. They eat kitchen scraps. They control pests in the garden (although they aren’t particular fans of slugs.) They make eggs. Annnd they poop! They poop a lot. Eat and poop, poop and eat, lay an egg, squawk, run around, and do it all again. Most urban chicken-keepers find themselves wondering, at one point or another, what to do with all that excrement.

“Extra” chicken poop? No such thing. You can use it in the garden, of course!

When we first went in search of chicken poop for the garden, we got more than we bargained for. Our now-friend Desirae advertised chicken poopy straw on Craigslist, and she offered us her old coop when we went out to pick it up. After we got a coop, you see, we had to get chickens…and they made their own poop (lucky us!)…and we didn’t need Desirae’s chickens’ poop anymore. But we’re still friends.

So…poop: what is it good for? Nitrogen-rich chicken poop is a wonderful compost material, and poopy bedding is great to use in sheet mulch over a bedded-down-for-the-winter garden or an area of lawn that will become a garden next spring (not on established plantings or on garden areas that you will use immediately–it’s too “hot” for that, and will burn your plants).

The Karens in Chicken Shirts

The Karens in Chicken Shirts

What it comes down to is that we made a Chicken Shirt because we wanted to give a wearable nod to the wonders of Chicken Shi(r)t. It turned out pretty cute, we think. And we’re happy to share the reasons behind this shirt so that gardeners and others can use it (or the Chicken Shirt sweatshirt, available as of last week!) to start a conversation about the wonders of manure.

Here are a few cool places to find more chicken poop tips: