Have you been thinking about getting chickens but you just aren’t sure how to get started? Or have you been wondering why anyone would want chickens in the city? You can get the answers to those questions and more at the upcoming Twin Cities Parade of Chicken Coops.
No, people will not be parading their chickens, or their coops, through the streets. Think of this as a parade of homes instead; a parade of chicken homes.
The parade has been going on for about five years, according to Albert Bourgeois. Peat Wilcutt organized the first three (one year there was a spring and fall tour) and Bourgeois has been organizing the fall parade since 2009. “This is the third fall tour I have helped with, and we have grown each year,” says Bourgeois. In 2009 there were 19 coops on the tour,and in 2010, 29; so far this year there are 35 coops signed up.
Longfellow resident Theresa Rooney says going on the parade of chicken coops four years ago is what finally convinced her she could handle chickens. She remembers thinking about chickens in January—“in a hazy, in the future” way.
Rooney took a community education class on chicken keeping that spring (taught by Wilcutt), but it still left her thinking, “Can I do this? I am not a handy person, I don’t have lots of money, etc.” She kept thinking about it all summer, and then she toured the coops on Parade in the fall. “I saw all kinds of coops and talked with chicken folks about all my concerns: food, protection from predators, keeping warm in winter, etc. After the tour I knew I could do it. I got my act together, got the permit, and have been happily ‘chicken kept’ since then.” Rooney adds, “Each time I think about it, I send a silent thanks to those wonderful people on the tour who opened their coops/yards and shared their knowledge.”
This year’s Parade of Chicken Coops will be on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a self-guided tour. Tour maps can be found online at https://sites.google.com/site/twincitiescooptour/ or at Egg/Plant in St. Paul. If you are a chicken keeper and want to show off your coop, send an e-mail to Bourgeois to be added to the list (email@example.com).
There are 140 chicken keepers in the city of Minneapolis (according to Animal Care & Control) and when you look at that tour map, you’ll see that you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your South Minneapolis neighborhood to see some of them. There are almost a dozen chicken keepers in South Minneapolis signed up to be on the tour. So get out there and meet some chickens!