Raising urban chickens in Pittsburgh


By Abbey Reighard

Urban chicken farming may be the next big trend to take root – or coop – on the Northside.

Three chicken coops located on the Northside will be part of the 4th annual “Chicks in the Hood” Tour on Sunday, June 8. The tour highlights local Pittsburgh chicken farmers and educates people on how to raise chickens in the city.

The three coops, in Manchester, Fineview and Mexican War Streets, are three of 15 coops throughout the Pittsburgh area that will be featured in the tour.

The tour – which is hosted by the Pittsburgh Pro-Poultry People, or P4 – will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adult and free for children 14 and younger.

The urban chicken farmers featured on the tour will be available to answer questions and give helpful tips to anyone on the tour who wants to start raising their own urban chickens.

Anne George, an urban chicken owner and P4 advocate, said the tour is self-guided. Those attending the tours can start and finish at any of the chicken coop locations and do not have to follow a specific order. Tour-goers should have transportation since the coops are located in different areas around the city.

“The tour is very fun but also helps to educate people on the best ways to keep their hens in an urban environment, especially during the winter months,” George said.

There will also be a guided bike-tour, which George said she recommends the bike tour for seasoned bicyclists.

Tickets for the tour will be sold at coffee shops, stores and homesteads throughout the city, and will be listed on the P4 website.

George said once people purchase their tickets, they will be given a map with the chicken coop locations and descriptions of each of the coops.

The proceeds from the “Chicks in the Hood” tours are donated to a different community partner every year. This year the proceeds will go to the American Rescue League.

Last year the tour brought in $2,500 and over 230 people were in attendance. The proceeds were donated to Just Harvest, an organization that aims to end hunger and poverty through education and mobilization, according to its official website.

The number of coops featured in the tours has increased since the first tour in 2011. The number of coops included in this year’s tour increased by three compared to lasts years total.

George said she expects 400 people to attend this year’s tour.

P4 was formed in 2010 in response to the growing number of “new-wave urban chicken keeps” in Pittsburgh, according to George.

According to its official website, P4 is a “loosely organized group of urban-poultry keepers” who seek to “promote the joy of chickens within the city without permit requirements.”

Along with Chicks-in-the-Hood tours, P4 also hosts events throughout the year such as Chicken-Keeping Classes and Stray Bird Re-Homing.

George said the tours are great learning experiences but, also added that the tours are “interesting and fun for the whole family!”

For more information visit the P4 website and the “Chicks in the Hood” Facebook event page.

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