The Tour de Coop

tour de coop Troy logoThat would coop as in chicken coop. On August 18 (a Sunday) there's a self-guided tour of seven backyard chicken locations around Troy. Blurbage:

The Troy Coalition for Sustainable Urban Living is sponsoring a self guided city-wide tour of chicken coops. Keeping backyard chickens is more than just fresh eggs and meat. Join the tour and see the variety of birds and coops as well as learn about caring for and enjoying your chickens. They provide manure to feed your compost and garden soil, they are entertaining and they contribute to food security in our community. There are seven locations. The tour is free but you will need to sign in to get a map of the coop locations. Maps are available at two locations: 384 2nd Street, in South Troy, and 63 Mellon Ave, between Hoosick and South Lake Ave.

We weren't familiar with the Troy Coalition for Sustainable Urban Living, so we emailed Katie Nare, one of the organizers of the tour. She explained via email:

We are a group of concerned and energized residents in the city of Troy who are working together to create a more sustainable urban area through networking, sharing and encouragement.
One of the top issues regards food. That's where the chickens make an appearance ;) They provide eggs, meat or both. They are small and easy to handle. They are providers. In the end, we want to be able to feel food secure in an urban environment (especially an urban environment!) and chickens provide that. So do our gardens, etc.
Sustainability matters because we can't always count on the economy. The last few years have shown a lack of stability and we seek stability. That's where the coalition comes in!

The Tour de Coop is 1-4 pm on August 18. It's free, but as noted above, you'll have to sign in at one of the two starting locations for a map.

Speaking of backyard chickens... There will be a new mayor in Albany next year. Does that mean the Albany backyard chicken issue will cluck again?

Earlier on AOA: A bunch of stuff about urban chickens

Comments

Once again, the City of Albany is behind as Troy (and arguably Schenectady) continues to embrace urbanist ideals, rather than stonewall key issues and entrepreneurial activity.

Doe Troy Coalition for Sustainable Urban Living have a facebook page?

I live in Albany and would love to have an urban coop. I've threatened to convert my husband's man cave (our detached garage) to a coop. Out with the beer signs and in with the roosts.

I've been reading up on the care and feeding of chickens but I very much share the concern that this needs to be regulated in terms of cleanliness. From what I've researched, if you don't keep a clean coop and store the feed in airtight containers, you will have a mice/rat problem for sure and that will certainly take the fun out of having some cute chickens hangin' in the backyard.

For those who are worried about roosters crowing at the crack of dawn? It's the hens that lay the eggs so limit city coop residents to ladies only. Of course this means no fertilized eggs and no fluffy chicks.

Also, one source states that for small city coops, once you factor in the cost of coop, bedding, roosts and food, you are paying $2 PER EGG for the pleasure of having your own chickens. I hope that's not true!

My husband - perhaps fearing for the demise of his man cave - made an interesting point. Maybe if you want to raise chickens (and what's next - a goat?) then living in a city isn't for you? Discuss...

This is an excellent opportunity for people to get educated about raising chickens.

Yes, it is more costly than going to the farmer's market once a week and picking up a dozen eggs. But, if you commit the proper time in care, housing, cleaning, etc. it can be very rewarding.

However, there is senior care to think about, you will still have to feed and care for them even after their egg production slows or stops all together. Alternatively you'll have to be ready, willing and able to literally put them on the chopping block.

Here is a great article from the Humane Society on raising and caring for chickens.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/chickens/tips/adopting_chickens.html

If you live in Troy or Albany, there are so many reasons NOT to have chickens in your yard:

1) They smell. Trust me - as someone who grew up near farms, the odor of a coop (with the proper conditions) is awful. In rural areas, this can be managed by more open space. You obviously don't have that space in the cities, so it would not be cool to do that to your neighbors.

2) Despite all the arguments to the contrary, urban areas are less than ideal to keep chickens. They need space. It's cruel to do that to an animal so you can have your own eggs.

3) If you travel just a few miles out of either city, chickens are being raised humanely on local farms that need your business.

4) Support these farmers at local farmers markets, co-ops, etc.

5) Just want to clarify that I am not a farmer or involved in a farmers' market in any way except as a customer. But, I don't want my property value to go down because of chickens. Despite good intentions and even good care by chicken owner, this isn't right for the chickens or urban communities. Trust me on this.

Jamie - the info on the Humane Society link was egg-cellent. Thanks.

cd_observer,

The battle-cry of "Property Values" has shot down the prosepct of Backyard Chickens in more municipalities than just about anything else. It has been repeated so often that people think it must be true.

Can you give us the name of one city... just ONE... anywhere in the country that tried BYC and reversed its policy because of a negative impact of property values?

If it is a legitimate concern, if it CAN happen, in the hundreds of cities, towns, and villages across the country which already allow it, with more and more every year allowing backyard hens, surely it HAS happened at least ONCE... hasn't it? If it hasn't, what makes your town so "special" that it'd happen there: something in the water, perhaps?

You're asking us to "trust" you. We'll trust the research you've done. Name the place. Otherwise "Property values" is just a hand-wringing "scare-tactic".

I'm not necessarily opposed to city chickens, but I do have to say that it is hard enough trying not to get killed with people going the wrong way down all of Troy's one-ways without having to also look out for a "flock" of chickens....this is a regular occurrence on Ida Street during my morning commute. I'd kinda known for calling TPD about chickens in the street.

@Ed_F: Putting the property values concern aside, what about @cd_observer's other fine points? I'd rather support a local farmer who raises chicken humanely and whose livelihood is at stake with every egg sale.

On top of that, people in this town can't properly care for dogs, nor restrain or control them outside in the public sphere (my fellow AOA readers aside). What makes you think the average non-AOA-reading citizen will be able to properly care for chickens?

Ed_F,

When you are selling your home, you want to make it palatable to as many people as possible. Therefore, you increase your chances of selling it quickly and as close to the asking price as possible.

There are people out there that don't buy homes because of the interior paint colors or they don't want to invest the time to remove wallpaper (Those people drive me crazy on HGTV!) Maybe it doesn't effect the "property value", but wouldnt't the possiblity that the smell, chance of disease, and the attraction of predators and rodents to a neighbor's chicken coop have a negative effect on a homeowners ability to sell their home?

People ususaly assume the worst. So, I don't think it's so far fetched to think that many prospective buyers would be turned off, and not bother to make a purchase offer because there is a chicken coop next door.

I see the Grumpertins are out in force. Lighten up and enjoy the chickens. I live next door and love their morning conversations.

In response to the cost per egg comment earlier :
Just like with anything else , if you choose to spend money and be a consumer, you can probably go overboard with costs. We have built or coops from repurposed materials. We buy straw and feed. We supplement their food bu letting them free range, and giving them kitchen scraps and garden clippings. Therefore, our healthy, fresh eggs cost us about $1 per dozen, or 8 cents per egg.
In addition to saving over $35 per month in eggs, our hens help us in other ways:
They provide a sense if responsibility and companionship for the children as they live to collect eggs and help to take care of them.
They reduce the tick population in our yard!

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