Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Keeping Ourselves Busy!

Spring has sprung and all around us the snow is melting! Yay! My birds have been enjoying a little freedom in my back yard (with a lot of supervision) and I'm already sooo happy to see them scratching up the exposed garden beds, getting all of the early weedy leaves taken care of! I could leap for joy in anticipation of seeing my slugs turn into eggs!!

With the attention Urban Hens is getting in Central Alberta (thanks to the media sharing some of the details of our most excellent City Council's decision to extend the pilot project), there are events popping up everywhere that CLUCK Red Deer is happy and excited to be a part of!!

Here's some info:
Saturday April 6, 10am-5:30pm at the Red Deer College: -Red Deer EcoLiving Fair & Workshops (link down as of writing this, but Rene says it should be up very soon with the workshop schedule). Deborah will be hosting a brief workshop on Urban Hen-Keeping! We'll also have a table/booth/nook set up to answer questions and show off a couple of our beautiful urban hens.

Sunday April 21, 12-4pm (at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre): ReThink Red Deer, Waskasoo Environmental Education Society & City of Red Deer Earth Day Event (for more information, visit ReThink Red Deer). From the e-mail message I received:
From noon to 4:00 p.m. we will be celebrating Earth Day at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre with:
·         Tree planting
·         Nature walks & geo-caching
·         Rain barrel sale
·         Eco-crafts
·         Green building tours
·         And more!
This will be a free family event.

Sunday, May 5, 1-3pm (at All In One Pet Care Facility -4831 53 St, Red Deer):
Urban Chickens 101 Workshop. CLUCK Red Deer will host a 2-hour session covering some of the basics of keeping chickens in an  urban environment. We plan to speak for 90 minutes (with demonstration) and take questions for 30 minutes.
*NOTE* This event is being held in a pet-grooming facility, there may be potential allergens (including, but not limted to, demonstration hens), attendees are responsible for any possible reactions.
Space is limited, please e-mail for tickets.


Saturday May 25, 11am-3pm (at the Westerner Agri-Centre West): Peavey Mart Urban Farm Sale (link to event page on Facebook), hosted by Canadian Heritage Breeds. This will be a great opportunity to find locally raised hens to add to your urban flock, meet breeders and check out some great crafts, arts and just have fun! CLUCK Red Deer will have a table there with some of our birds, ready to answer questions and show you how to check your girls for signs of mites or lice. (Guess what... CHICKEN BUTT!!)

Friday July 26, 8:30am-12pm (at Olds College): Intro to Urban Chicken-Keeping at Olds College's Hort Week (find the course description under the Food Production Lectures & Workshops link on the left hand side). Deborah and I will be teaching this half-day course and cover as much as we possibly can (with pictures and demonstrations) to help you feel comfortable starting your own small flock of Urban Hens.

KEEP IN MIND: One of the conditions of the Red Deer City Council's decision to extend the pilot project for another 12 months was that they be able to more accurately gather information from existing coops. The information they gather will then allow the city's Inspections & Licensing department to draft a bylaw that will ensure the safety, health and happiness of Red Deer's urban hens, hen owners and neighbourhoods -AND THIS REQUIRES YOUR HELP. You *MUST* register your coop with the City.

You can pick up the registration form (and fill it out) at the I&L office on the 2nd floor of City Hall*. There is no charge to register and they do ask that you submit a photo (which can be e-mailed in separately if that's easier for you -it's what I did). Council has clearly indicated that they do not want to take our hens away from us. They are not going to use this information to hunt down our hens  and punish us (remember: it's not illegal to keep hens in the city). This is our chance to work with the City to keep Urban Hen-Keeping the fantastic, positive experience it already is. Registration deadline is June 17th. If you do not register by this time, you may not be counted as a part of the Pilot Project and it's unsure if/how the City will treat such cases. If you do not have hens by this time, we suggest you wait until the spring of 2014 when the final bylaw will be drafted. (Note that this is only a pilot project, NOT a full-out open call to urban hen keeping.)
*If you are unable to come in to City Hall during business hours, please contact me. I have a stack of forms at my house and you can pick one up from me: e-mail to get in touch.

ANNND as I keep promising.. but keep getting distracted... and STILL haven't done.. here are some of my favorite photos from the winter's Peavey Mart Urban Farm Show and the very, very fun Urban Hen Party:

We had over 20 girls show up for the Urban Hen Party!
Some beat up city construction signs helped show off our urban roots.
Frenchie is Arlee's Lavender Bantam D'Uccle. Isn't she gorgeous?

Adele is Todd's Bantam Mille Fleurs hen. She won the award for Prettiest Overall.
My Blue Cochin, Feezie, got a lot of attention, people love fluffy butts!

Todd gives Adele a pep-talk before the judging begins.
The CLUCK banner and a few of the items we had for sale.

City Councillor Lynn Mulder was our Honorary Judge!

Councillor Mulder had a hard time deciding... (and a lot of fun)!

Picking winners... it's not easy with so many pretty girls!

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