Even before the pandemic forced folks to stay home, many Houstonians were becoming interested in raising chickens at home. After all, backyard chickens provide an endless supply of fresh eggs — and of organic fertilizer for lush, productive gardens. A total win-win for foodies, urban farmers, environmentalists and many others. And, even more now, as the homebound look for new hobbies, and ways to avoid the grocery store, chicken keeping has, ahem, taken flight.
One Houston couple — Nicole and Michael “Chicken Mike" Graham — has been leaders in the fine-feathered fad since 2012, when they started The Garden Hen, which, among services, builds customized chicken coops for newly minted peeper keepers. And now, starting this week, the Grahams are opening their first Garden Hen storefront, at 10142 Jones Road in Cypress, offering chickens, fresh eggs, other organic products, their famous handmade chicken coops and even a chicken-themed art gallery featuring pieces from notable Houston artists.
“We're passionate about what we do and recognized a gap in the market for people who want to have that farm-to-table experience but need to see the operation in-person before committing," says Michael Graham. “Once we decided to establish a place where people could pick up and bring home a coop and chickens on the same day, we knew we had an opportunity to add-on and the idea quickly grew from there."
Ready-made coops run about $600-$1,200, with fancier customized numbers going up from there. Artists featured in “The Nest" art gallery at the new Garden Hen site, in which artist are inspired by chicken-and-egg motifs, include Taft McWhorter, Patti Lennon, Leah Jordan Art, Denis O'Donnell and magician-artist David Rangel. The Garden Hen will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm.