I am so happy that you have a White House Garden and White House bees. It is really inspiring. One thing though. You are missing something. Happy chickens. I believe that adding a small chicken coop to the White House Garden would provide you and your chefs with tasty, nutritious eggs and I am sure all of you would love the hens. Aside from super tasty eggs, the hens could help "weed" and fertilize your garden and hoop houses. I let a few of my hens into the garden and they like to eat the weeds and it is really fun to listen to them march around the garden while I am working. Actually they are all really hysterical. I have one hen Paprika who is The Boss. I do whatever she says. They all have very diverse, interesting and different personalities. I have some shy chickens, some bossy and some very outgoing.
For the White House Garden I would recommend about a dozen hens. If all goes well most days you'd go out to the coop and have a dozen eggs! Collecting the eggs is awesome, I actually think it is sort of like treasure hunting. Somehow, despite the fact that I have had hens for 4 years now, I still find collecting the eggs really exciting. A few of my hens lay blue eggs. Yup, blue. They are called Americaunas (also Arucaunas). Obviously there are many interesting breeds to consider for the White House Garden. I would also choose one heritage breed hen and focus on that one breed - Orpingtons. While I didn't do that myself when starting out, I have learned that this is a good thing to do. If you do have your good egg laying hens you could then spice up your flock with a few fancies. This is what I have done in the past and it has worked out well because I still get very tasty eggs but whenever people come to see my birds there jaws always drop with amazement and are naturally more interested in chickens. There are many great fancy breeds such as Polishes, Hamburgs, Cochins, Sultans, Sumatras, Silkies, Modern Games and many more. Those are better when acquired after the farmer has had chickens. Heritage breeds are all reflected in The Standard of Perfection, the American Poultry Association's book of pure breeds, they are breeds that have been around forever. In fact, there are many Heritage breeds that are actually very rare, so it is worthwhile to try and help these breeds.
There are many details about keeping chickens that we can discuss later - the coop, the food, perching, dust bathing, health. There are many people who know a lot more than I do so we can ask them for some advice too. I wish I knew everything, but I don't. What I do know is that eggs from happy chickens will make you happy, the chefs happy, your garden happy, and honestly me too.
There is a bit of confusion currently whether chickens are legal in DC, however, officials in the mayor's office say there is currently no law prohibiting raising chickens within city limits if residents follow guidelines on proper animal care and shelter. Washington D.C. Section 902 of the Animal Control Code requires hens to be 50 ft. from any residence.
Thank you for reading this letter, I sure hope you will consider this. It is bound to make the White House Organic Garden very happy.