I stopped in the Seaboard Station Ace Hardware located in downtown Raleigh this week and was surprised to see they had a big table set up with aluminum washtubs filled with different baby chicks. According to the people at Ace, they get a lot of requests for chicks given the growing popularity of urban chickens in downtown Raleigh. These particular birds come from the Mt. Healthy Hatchery out of Ohio and are destined to become residents of backyard chicken coops in older Raleigh neighborhoods inside the beltline.
Urban chickens provide their owner a source of fresh organic eggs, but some also view them as pets and or as an educational exercise for their children to learn about the responsibility of caring for a live animal. Either way, the popularity of urban chickens has grown so much in Raleigh in recent years that there is now an annual event called ” Hen-side the Beltline Tour-d Coup” each summer. The event features tours of dozen of coops located in the backyards of homes inside the beltline to give the public an opportunity to learn about raising chickens in a healthy neighbor friendly environment, and see how families integrate chickens into their gardening practices. The Sixth Annual Tour d’Coop will be held on Saturday May 21, 2011. For more information about the coops featured on past tours and info on how you can get tickets this year, please check out the Hen-side the Beltline website!