Tag Archive: urban homesteading

Just a couple of chickens wonder where is tour de coops 2012

Tour de Coops 2012? Where is it? Where? It’s on break for 2012? What? What?

Tour de Coops in Portland Oregon is a fantastic self guided tour of backyard chicken coops throughout the city organized by www.growing-gardens.org. The urban chicken movement is strong in Portland, and urban homesteaders and chicken raising masters in the neighborhoods East of the Willamette River have some of the best backyard coops in the business.

The coops are home made, or manufactured, or customized, or pulled together with frugal ingenuity. They are a parade of homes for backyard hens. Anyone wanting to know how to raise chickens in the city would love this tour. I should have taken a tour like this when I was building coops for my chickens, but instead, I re-invented the concept. The results are some of the ruefunniest parts of “Just a Couple of Chickens”, my book on raising chickens the hard way.

I was all ready to go! The Tour de Coops usually takes place in July, and tickets go on sale a couple of weeks before the event and sell out fast. But then I discovered that the organizers of the fun event decided to take a haitus for 2012 and get their ducks in a row regarding how to do next year’s tour.  So I’ve marked my calendar for 2013 and took a little time to look into the details and history of the event.

Growing-gardens.org is an award winning organization that mobilizes voluteers to build local organic raised bed vegetable gardens in low income neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. They run several outreach programs centered around sustainable food gardens in city environments. They host workshops that help urban homesteaders get started farming in the city.

The 2011 Tour de Coops was the 8th annual and it’s a well-known Portland event. I was particularly looking forward to seeing how people matched their coops to their house architecture. I noticed some very creative coops last year during my walks around town.

I’ll keep watch for the Tour 2013, and maybe by then I’ll have my own coop stashed in my urban farm backyard… not that I’m counting my chicks before they hatch or nuttin’.



Duck Herding Described in Just a Couple of Chickens

This picture ran on NBC news, and YouTube… but this is not how MY ducks behaved…

This week, the NBC Nightly News ran a video clip of 5,000 ducks being herded down a road in China with only two duck herders in charge.

The ducks carpeted the road, stopping traffic, in an orderly brown flood that was amazing to see. The duck herders looked perfectly relaxed, holding long bamboo poles – casually.

The story reminded me of our own experience herding ducks, which I describe in page 67 of “Just a Couple of Chickens”… my book about our adventures raising poultry in New Mexico.

“(Andrew)…had been studying a picture in our old collection of National Geographic magazines. It showed a child in rural China, about Blue’s age, herding a huge flock of white ducks with nothing more than a long stick…”

It was just the same kind of picture that encouraged me to think that I could herd ducks like a Chinese duck herder. And it did not end well. At all.

“… they stampeded hysterically in every direction. They ran peeping, stumbling, crowding each other, and veering away from us in a panic. Ducks spilled from the doorway and continued, like water, to take the path of least resistance downhill. They poured out of the pen and some went under a tree. The rest headed east very fast, breaking up into smaller duck clots at every bush… “

After that, (and many hours of duck collecting) I came to the conclusion that our ducks were not Chinese ducks. And that Chinese ducks are very different than American ducks. I preferred to think that way rather than conclude that I was not very good at raising ducks.

But as I was marveling over the brown duck flood in China… I found another piece of footage from China.  This one was taken by some American tourists driving in the Chinese countryside. They passed a duck herding event that was closer to what I had experienced… and I watched it over and over again.

Soooo… not every piece of news footage coming out of China is showing the real duck deal!  Maybe my American ducks were not so very different from Chinese ducks after all!

The duck herding chapter in “Just a Couple of Chickens” can save you a lot of time if you ever need to move your ducks.
Because there comes a day when everyone needs to move their ducks. Or at least get them in a row.


Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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