Urban chicken farming tour draws crowd despite rain

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Photo by Abbey Reighard
Mel Gallagher of Fineview holding her hen Harriet. Gallagher participated in the “Chicks in the Hood” tour on Sunday, June 8.

By Abbey Reighard

Despite the occasional rain showers, the crowds were out for the 4th Annual “Chicks in the Hood” tour.

The “Chicks in the Hood” tour, which took place on Sunday, June 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 pm., is organized by the Pittsburgh Pro-Poultry People, or P4, an organization that aims to educate people about urban chicken-raising, according to the P4 official website.

Every year the tour proceeds go to a different organization. This year the money raised will go to the American Rescue League. The total amount of money raised from the tour will be announced on the P4 website once event organizers calculate the total.

Attendees were given a map of the coops and could drive or bike to each of the coop locations.

This year’s tour featured coops all over Pittsburgh and included two coops located on the Northside. Originally a third Northside coop was to be included in the tour this year, but the coop-owner’s work schedule conflicted with the tour, according to P4 advocate Anne George.

Mel Gallagher said she has raised chickens since she was 10-years-old. She now has her own coop with six chickens at her home in Fineview.

Gallagher said she has participated in the coop tour since the tour began in 2011. Despite the occasional rain the day of the tour, Gallagher said the number of people visiting her coop seemed to be about the same as last year’s number, which Gallagher said was about 150 people.

Bruce and Jana Thompson, of Mexican War Streets, also participated in this year’s coop tour.

Bruce Thompson said he and Jana decided to do the coop tour to educate others and to bring people together to discuss the possibility if starting their own chicken coops.

“You don’t need a lot of space,” said Bruce Thompson. “Just a vision of what you want to do.”

Along with their coop, the Thompson’s also have a garden in their backyard, fruit trees and bee houses.

Jana Thompson also teaches P4 Chicken Keeping Classes. According to Jana Thompson, the classes are typically held in libraries and she said P4 will host classes when asked by groups such as gardening clubs and pre-school classes.

Jana Thompson said the Chicken Keeping Classes are about an hour long during which P4 members provide online resources at the classes and teach about husbandry, veterinary care and health issues – such as egg production and caring for chickens at the ends of their lives.

Jana Thompson added that she has two upcoming classes held on Monday, June 16 at the Allegheny Library at 6 p.m. and another on Tuesday, June 17 at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Carrick at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on P4 and urban chicken farming visit the P4 website, pittsburghpropoultrypeople.blogspot.com.

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