By Nathaniel Brodie
One thing I like to tell people visiting Corvallis is that, though a relatively small town, its per-capita chicken population is impressively high. Anywhere you go, from South Town to Timberhill, from 36th to 5th, you’ll see or hear a backyard chicken coop. Local fowl enthusiasts abound.
In the spirit of all this avian enthusiasm, the Edible Corvallis Initiative is presenting the sixth annual Cooped Up in Corvallis, a self-guided tour of Corvallis’ chicken and duck coops. On Sunday, May 18 from noon to 4 p.m. you can tour chicken coops—ranging from magnificent mansions to traveling tractors—meet and talk with neighbors who are raising chickens in their backyards, engage children in activities, participate in workshops, and learn about chicken breeds.
After all, there is a lot to consider when getting started with a backyard flock. There are breeds to decide on, space limitations to work with, coop designs to look over, and feeding options to choose from; it is easy to be overwhelmed. Cooped Up in Corvallis offers an opportunity to learn from local innovators like Chris Hansen from Mosaic Farms, which sells local, non-GMO chicken feed milled fresh in Philomath.
The tour starts at SAGE, the Starker Arts Garden for Education in Starker Arts Park, where participants pick up a tour book. The tourbook guides participants to a dozen unique coops around town that can be visited in any order. At SAGE, the Corvallis Environmental Center will have workshops on raising chickens, activities for kids, and drawings for prizes. Tickets are $7 (free for kids under 12) and are available on the Corvallis Environmental Center’s website, www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.
The Edible Corvallis Initiative is looking for chicken and duck coops to feature in Cooped Up in Corvallis. If you or someone you know has a cool coop, please contact the Corvallis Environmental Center.