Rossland Real Food is starting off the growing season with the third annual backyard Chicken Crawl.
Rachael Roussin, a member of Rossland Real Food said the purpose of the crawl is to educate community members, as well as share experiences about raising backyard chickens.
“We find that it’s really important to spread the word about best practices with backyard chickens,” Roussin explained. “They’re really popular now.”
Backyard chickens are a sometimes controversial subject, but are allowed in Rossland.
“They’re all over the news, some municipalities allow them, some don’t,” she said. “The City of Rossland does allow them, I think that’s terrific, because it gives family members the chance to have that experience of raising their own food. And also it’s just a very economical, sustainable way to eat eggs daily.”
She said it’s for that reason Rossland Real Food wants to help communities understand what’s involved with backyard chickens, and what’s a better way than to visit people who have backyard chickens.
This year the format is a little different.
“Usually we would have a group meeting spot and everybody would tour the coops together, but last year we had 30 participants on the tour and that’s a lot of people to arrive all at once at someone’s house.,” she explained. “So we’ve copied the format of the garden tour and we’re going to just provide people with maps and they can visit those coops between the hours of 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. at their leisure on Sunday, June 3.”
Chicken coup owners will be at their coops outside. They will be ready to talk about their coops and their chickens.
“It’s a way for people to learn what they can do better or differently if they are just getting started or interested in getting started.,” she said
This year they have two new people on the tour who were on the tour last year, learned from it and built their own coops.
One of the highest risk things of having chickens in Rossland is wildlife. There are predators after chickens beside the conventional backyard dog.
“There’s been a very fast learning curve ion this issue with having backyard chickens,” she said. “Neither Rossland Real Food, nor Bear Aware wants the chickens to be an animal attractant. So people are really putting the effort in to making their coops very strong. The first year we saw some coups that were quite flimsy and as a result some chickens were eaten by racoons. What we’ve seen is better coop building.”
Those who participate in the crawl will learn about what type of materials to build a coop from, how much space a chicken needs, what their sanitary needs are and how to keep a clean and smell-free coup. They will also learn what to feed the chickens, how to keep chickens healthy and what type of chickens are right for you.
“There are many types of chickens, so you can decide what type of bird will suit your needs.,” she said.
Chickens don’t usually have problems with the weather either, as Roussin says, they are very hardy.
“A lot of people like the heritage hens. some of them can be quite beautiful. They produce really neat eggs. There are also chickens that are great at simply laying a lot of eggs,” she said, adding that she has backyard chickens and they’re all red and look identical.
“But if you go to someone else’s house they might have four different types of chickens in one coup, so you have a black bird, a white bird, a polka-doted bird, and a red and black bird.”
Another thing that people can learn about is coup placement in your yard.
Roussin said that backyard chickens are very non-intrusive animals to have in your yard, much less than dogs or cats. “However, it’s important that you think of your neighbours when you place your backyard coup,” she said.
“You don’t want to place it right under your neighbours bedroom window. Though the chickens only really make some sounds when they lay their eggs, some chickens make different sounds. Different things set them off.”
She said the only thing that would disturb people would be the early morning clucking. Unlike a rooster they don’t make really loud sounds, but they do make early morning sounds.
To find out more and to get the map check out www.rosslandfood.com. They won’t be distributing the map through any other means so Roussin said people will have to download it there.
It will also be sent out with the Rossland Real Food email list.
The cost of the chicken crawl is $3 per person. Please pay this donation at one of the two locations marked on the map (only pay once).
The donation will go towards Real Food’s basic administration costs to organize the Backyard Chicken Crawl.