Has Raleigh Gone to the Birds? From New York and Chicago to Seattle and Los Angeles, city chickens are sweeping, er, scratching across the nation. From 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, May 16, 2009, the 4th Annual Hen-side the Beltline Tour d’Coop will showcase 24 of Raleigh’s backyard flocks, all located inside the Beltline.
The motivations for raising chickens are as diverse as the shelters that house our feathered friends. Whether in lieu of the repeated failures of the food industry to provide safe and humane animal products or as an educational exercise to foster environmental connectivity and responsibility for children, food is the most obvious reason to keep chickens. Most small flock owners see their birds as pets and find it too difficult to eat them, while others admittedly have no problem with savoring a respectfully raised healthy bird. Either way, there is simply no comparison between a caged industrial bird’s bland egg and that of a well-tended backyard chicken, attentively raised and allowed to forage on insects and foliage, giving the yolk a radiant glow. Urban chickens often have their diet supplemented with garden or table scraps, which they readily break down into black gold, that is, droppings. The droppings can be easily collected from beneath the roosts, where the chickens sleep, and composted for use as fertilizer. The bottom line is the owners enjoy their flocks for the amusing bird behaviors, the spectacular array of colors, combs, and feather patterns, and in some cases, nostalgia stemming from childhood memories on the farm.
Don’t miss this once a year Parade of Combs. Tickets will be available the day of the tour in exchange for a non-perishable food or cash donation to benefit Raleigh Urban Ministries.
Tickets are available only on the day of the Tour. Please visit one of the following sites:
Steven B. Andreaus, DDS , PA: 1637 Glenwood Avenue , across from the Rialto Theater
Ornamentea: 509 N. West Street, one block south of Peace Street
CupAJoe: 2109-142 Avent Ferry Road, in the lower level of Mission Valley Shopping Center
Whole Foods Market: 3540 Wade Avenue, in the Ridgewood Shopping Center
Seaboard ACE Hardware: 802 Semart Drive, across from Logan ‘s Nursery
Admission: Please bring a non-perishable food or cash donation for Urban Ministries of Wake County. 100% of the food and money collected as admission goes to Urban Ministries.
Whole Foods Market is the corporate sponsor for this event.
View a map showing the approximate coop locations in blue and ticket locations in yellow here.
photographs by Tim Ayers