Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping Chickens in Minneapolis

Raising chickens in the heart of the city

June 19, 2007

This story is about chickens, and the people who keep them. But we're not talking about farmers. We're talking about city-dwellers and the phenomenon of "urban chickens."

Minneapolis, Minn. — People who keep chickens in their yards say the trend is becoming both more popular and more acceptable.

Last year, Minneapolis issued 35 small animal permits. That's what you need to keep chickens, ducks or pigeons in the city. Once you have one, you are limited primarily by what your neighbors will tolerate.

The permitting process for getting chickens in Minneapolis isn't too difficult, but you do need permission from 80 percent of your neighbors within 100 feet of where the chickens will live.

There are Web sites, classes and workshops for would-be chicken keepers.

Peat Willcutt, a student at the University of Minnesota, teaches classes on urban chicken-raising. He recently hosted an "open coop" on Nicollet Island in Minneapolis, along with some of his neighbors, including State Rep. Phyllis Kahn.

Together, they maintain the MidRiver Co-op's coop, which consists of 30 hens, two roosters, 10 ducks and three geese. They believe it's the city's largest flock of home-raised chickens.

MPR's Tom Crann visited the "open coop" to find out what draws city dwellers to chickens.

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