Sunday, July 27, 2008

Virtual Vacation: City Chickens, or Tour de Coops, 2008

Nancy and I participated in the 2008 Tour de Coops yesterday, a very fun walking, biking, and/or driving tour of selected chicken coops of Portland. The city allows each household to keep up to three chickens (no roosters) in a suitable coop. The Tour visits only a small number of people who keep hens; it's a surprisingly popular (or is that poop-ular) activity about town.

Participants were able to ask the details of coop construction, hen management and productivity, and the pros and cons of neighborhood fowl. Quite a number of people on the Tour seemed to have chickens of their own and were comparing notes on bedding, breeds, and brooding as well as on free-ranging versus tractoring versus traditional open runs. In short, all the information you ever wanted about urban chicken keeping was available for the $5 price of admission and a few hours on a Saturday.

A cable TV crew was covering the tour for future broadcast. Details are at
When you see the ending of the shoot, remember that it took Jill and the crew about 10 takes to get 10 seconds of the goodbye. Then it was a wrap and away they went...

Nancy and I seem to have to name things in order to remember them. In Venezia, we had our own names for the different Campi. In Portland, we named the houses we looked at--Bus Street House, Art House, Oil Tank House. So yesterday we had the Engineer Coop, The Fussy Coop, The Bike Coop (the guy was wearing some bike clothes), Obama Coop, the Realist Coop. Pictured here are our rationales: Engineer--complete coop specs, Fussy--paint job and foo-foo, Obama--speaks for itself, Realist--meat cleaver holding up a window lest those hens forget their fate should they stop laying...

Fussy Coop lady claimed you could teach chickens tricks and she had a picture of some of hers as chicks climbing on her cat and dog.

I found out that it's pretty damned hard to take pictures of hens through poultry wire with the lens on autofocus--duh. Turned that off and had better success.

Did you ever eat City Chicken? We did as kids in Cleveland. It was fashioned, in our case, from cubes of fatty pork (probably trimmings from shoulders or something) that were stuck on a wooden stick and were supposed to be reminiscent of a chicken leg. Turns out that it's a term pretty much restricted to western Pennsylvania, out to the west as far as Michigan. Thinking about chickens in the city brought back the memory of:
"What's for dinner Mom?"
"City Chicken, boys."
"Oh" (we weren't allowed to say yuk or anything like that when it came to whatever my mother was going to put in front of us).
"Your father likes it..."

Anyway, if you've got a hankering for City Chicken, check out this web site: City Chicken

Of course, when you come down to it, the chickens are likely less excited about being in the city than we are. Emails from their country cousins probably have them clucking "don't fence me in..."


Anonymous said...

city chicken? should we have that for Sunday dinner?

griffiskc said...

It's as tho I were there...