City Chickens: Watching an Idea Become Reality, Part VIII

Meet Heather and Brian, Lansing residents and hopeful urban farmers. Follow them as they document their new project: raising backyard chickens. You’ll see the construction process, meet their chicks and follow their development over the summer.

Chickens in the Neighborhood
Raising city chickens is an adventure, but luckily we’re not in it alone.  Our neighborhood is full of other urban farmers raising chickens and building their own backyard coops.  Wondering if you have chickens for neighbors too? Local “coop tours” are the who’s who of urban farming.  Many metro areas organize annual tours as detailed in this recent New York Times article, including huge tours like Tour De Cluck, and the Funky Chicken Coop tour in Austin which drew 2500 visitors!

This year we were proud to be invited to take part in the first annual Tour De Coop in Lansing.  Although our coop wasn’t finished and we postponed our participation til next year, we were lucky enough to get the scoop from Tour coordinator Lauren Olsen.  Without further ado, let’s hear from our neighbor Lauren:

On the hot afternoon of Saturday, July 14th 2012, as many as 40 cyclists took to the streets of Lansing to visit 8 backyard chicken coops. The goal of the event was to show how easy and fun backyard chicken raising is for the Lansing community, since an ordinance passed in 2009 allowing up to 6 hens (no roosters). I organized the tour as a fundraiser for Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, and was helped by a robust community of poultry enthusiasts happy to open up their backyards to the group.

Lauren's coop

Lauren’s coop

We started at Foster Community Center and 6 coops on the Eastside of Lansing.

Mick's coop

First stop on the tour: Mick’s coop

Ben talks about farming

Ben explains how he grows food for his chickens in the backyard.

Kurt's coop

Kurt’s coop, made from old screen doors and windows.

Bob's urban farm

Bob’s urban farm (rumored to have goats soon)

We then headed over to the Westside to the Genesee Co-housing Community and finally to Rivendale Co-op.

At Rivendale we enjoyed some much needed beverages and talked with a chicken expert about any concerns and questions we had, particularly about predators including domestic dogs and brooding behavior.

 Heather explaining the co-housing chicken coop

Heather explaining the co-housing chicken coop.

Jackie explaining how to check a chicken's health

Jackie explaining how to check a chicken’s health.

I hope to make this an annual event, and encourage and assist with Tour de Coops in the greater Lansing area, including a tour for East Lansing and South Lansing.

Lauren Olson
Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council board member

Thank you for sharing with us Lauren! There’s more about the Tour, including pictures, in the City Pulse.

This was such a successful and interesting endeavor, and we really can’t wait to be a stop on the tour next year.  Hey Blog Readers, maybe we’ll see you at Tour de Coop 2013!

Next post: Chicken behavior 101

© hgoupil 2012

2 responses to “City Chickens: Watching an Idea Become Reality, Part VIII

  1. What a fun way to spend a day in our hometown. Next year there should be an even bigger turnout. I hope all those chickens will be prepared to strut their stuff! It’s interesting at how many ways a coop can be built…from elaborate to simple.

  2. A coop tour – what a brilliant idea. Good luck with your new hens!

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