Getting down and dirty with poultry
For those who are considering joining the growing ranks of backyard chicken owners in Rossland, this Saturday is your chance to spread your wings.
The fifth annual Backyard Chicken Crawl is an inside look at who is raising chickens in the city, how they do it, and gives people an opportunity to ask questions about how they could join the flock.
Coordinated by Rossland Real Food (RRF), the self-guided tour runs Saturday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and is a part of the Earth Day events scheduled in the city.
It's also a means to educate community members on raising backyard hens, said Rachael Roussin of RRF.
“There is a lot of interest surrounding raising backyard hens as issues of food security and sustainability that are important to people,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to learn from Rosslanders who are already doing it.”
People who do have backyard hens are doing it well in Rossland and there have been few problems since the City passed a bylaw to allow the backyard birds a few years ago.
The crawl will show people the do and don't lessons in raising chickens in the city, Roussin said.
“The home owners will be at their coops eagerly waiting to answer any questions about raising back yard chickens,” she said.
Currently there are over one dozen owners of backyard chickens in Rossland, said Roussin, eight of which are on the tour this year.
People can obtain a map of the crawl from the website rosslandfood.com, or go to the Rossland Library and get a hard copy. It includes biographies of the owners as well.
Chicken Crawl owner biographies
• Abii and Chris Graves - 1314 Cooke Ave.
The Graves' yard borders open space on all sides, so they built their coop extra strong with predators in mind. The coop is built with all recycled materials and is enclosed under the back deck and stairs. The fencing is buried two feet deep to deter predators. They have a fence around their coop so that the hens can free range most days.
• Alison and Matt Tonner - 2346 Fourth Ave.
Alison and Matt are new chicken owners. Their first hens were taken by racoons that came in through the apple tree above the coop. Since then, they extended the coop and used hardware mesh and so far their three hens are doing great.
• Roxy Piette - 1745 Thompson Ave.
She has seven hens: three ISA browns, two leghorns and two ameraucanas. She's been a backyard chicken farmer for almost two years now. Her coop is fully enclosed underneath her backyard deck. The run area is about 80 square feet and, since her backyard is fully fenced in, the chickens often get to free range outside of the run. She also built her coop extra strong with bears and raccoons in mind. I
• Rachael Roussin and Jarrod McLean - 2155 Second Ave.
They have been backyard chicken owners for almost four years and have four laying hens. Although they have a small yard, they use space efficiently and maintain a healthy coop and hens. Bears were a major concern for them, so they built the coop extra strong and have had no problems with wildlife.
• Ali Meredith and Phil Loosely - 2062 Thompson Ave.
They built the coop in 2010 with mostly recycled materials. Initially they used chicken wire to secure the run but two years ago raccoons broke in and killed their four hens. They reinforced the coop with 1/4" galvanized mesh and got four more hens—ameracaunas this time—and are now enjoying lovely blue/green eggs.
• Darcee O'Hearn - 2010 Georgia St.
She has had chickens for four years now and loves it. The run is made from an old cement slab where a barn once stood. It's easy to clean, prevents wildlife from digging in, and doesn't accumulate much dust. Once in a while she lets the chickens out to run in the backyard.
• Andrew Bennett - 2705 Columbia Kootenay Rd.
He's kept his herd of eight dairy goats here in town for about a year now. They spent last summer on Red Mountain grazing the ski slopes, chowed the Schaeffer's property here at 2705 Columbia-Kootenay through the fall, and have just finished a winter in the yellow-roofed barn. With so much brush around, it's anyone's guess where they'll go after six of them have kids in May.