City Chickens, Funky Chickens (podcast)

Apr 8th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Rooster at Springdale Farm, Austin, Texas

Rooster at Springdale Farm, Austin, Texas, Photo © Cecilia Nasti

Click here for information about the 9th Annual Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour, set for April 15, 2017.

Throughout the world, whenever the sun rises, the dawn chorus swells to greet it.

From tree branches and rooftops, migrant and native bird species announce the fresh, new day. For the past few years ground dwelling newcomers, in the form of urban chickens, have added to the cacophony.

Across the nation, a growing  number of Americans are raising chickens in their backyards.

Knowing the origin of the food  we eat has become increasingly important to eaters everywhere. In addition to shopping at farmers markets and farm stands, every day these locavores are taking up backyard food production, including chicken keeping for eggs and in some cases, meat.

Frank Fuller, an environmental consultant who lives in Austin’s Crestview neighborhood, has tended a backyard poultry flock for about a dozen years. During that time he says he’s seen a shift in attitudes toward raising this domestic fowl in the city limits. He says there’s been a prejudice about chickens–those raised inside the city limits–being the domain of the poor.

“Now with all the ‘designer’ chickens available, and people willing to spend close to $40 dollars for a dozen eggs to hatch, raising chickens has become…chic.”

People with low and modest incomes have been on the leading edge of urban chicken-keeping for years—not because it’s chic—but because it provides them access to relatively low cost, high quality, nutritious food.

Austin area residents of all socioeconomic levels have embraced raising city chickens.

Michelle Hernandez, founder and organizer of the Austin Backyard Poultry Meetup Group, says anyone considering raising chickens ought to hold off on that trip to the farm and feed store, or online hatcheries, until they’ve read their city’s ordinance on backyard chicken keeping, and they’re also clear about the purpose of the birds they intend to raise.

“Maybe you want chickens for eggs, meat, or both.  Knowing which breeds are best for your needs will keep unpleasant surprises and disappointment to a minimum.”

Michelle Hernandez recommends checking out the various resources available online, as well as Meetup Groups, phone apps, and events. One such event is:

THE FUNKY CHICKEN COOP TOUR®

Tour Date: April 15, 2017 — Rain or Shine
Time: 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Coops in the Austin City Limits and Austin ETJ. Purchased maps will show coop locations.  The ticket(s) you buy on Brown Paper Tickets is for the tour map.  You can also pick up maps after purchasing tickets at Buck Moore’s, Callahan’s, or either Wheatsville location. In addition, each coop spot with also have extra maps to give out.

The ticket(s) you are buying on Brown Paper Tickets must be exchanged for wristbands at any Coop Tour stop on Tour Day to gain entrance.

Watch AustinCoopTour.org for more details.

VISITOR GUIDELINES [from austincooptour.org]:
This is an outdoor event. Please dress and hydrate accordingly.

* Restrooms will not be available for use at coop locations.
* Do not bring any dogs or pets on the tour.
* Do not chase, taunt, feed or handle any birds or other pets on the coop owner’s property.
* Be considerate of our neighbors. Park all vehicles on the street or in designated areas without blocking driveways.
* Stay in designated areas around the homes and coops.
* Supervise your children.
* Refrain from smoking at coop sites.
* Clean your car tires, your shoes, and change clothes after the tour to promote healthy flocks. More info at: http://tinyurl.com/healthybirds

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