Urban livestock in Chicago’s backyards

Snow chickens

Photo by QueenieVonSugarpants (Nikol Lohr) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This past weekend Chicago-area locavores had a chance to partake of the city’s first Urban Livestock Expo. Urban chicken consultant Jennifer Murtoff describes the event at her blog as “a smashing success, with a huge crowd of over 200 people…. The standing-room-only crowd gathered for information on keeping bees, goats, chickens, and rabbits in the city.” I didn’t make the trip down from Madison (I don’t think my fellow condo owners would get on board with livestock on the property), but local media outlets have run some related stories recently.

WBEZ’s Lewis Wallace takes a trip to the West Side to visit the home of one small-scale urban farmer. As the print version of her story describes,

From the street, Carolyn Ioder’s house on the western side of the Austin neighborhood looks pretty normal. It’s a large off-white stucco with an American flag hanging out front and a big trampoline crammed into a fenced-in backyard.

It’s the sounds from the garage that give it away. Inside her two-car garage, Ioder keeps one car, six goats and a small coop full of chickens. The animals live here year-round, and Ioder takes the goats to pasture daily in a vacant lot down the street. She has the owner’s permission, and she gets water for the goats from the Chicago fire station at the end of the alley.

“Goats are such flock animals, they like to be with each other but they’re also extremely bossy,” said Ioder, wrangling the goats onto leashes for their daily walk to pasture.

For more, check out the full piece here and the accompanying video (which is really a fun audio story with a nice photo slideshow) embedded below.

Then, if you’re more of a fan of local TV morning news than public radio, check out a visit by a reporter to one Chicago resident’s backyard chicken coop. In keeping with the classic morning news format, the story is spread across three separate segments, which you can find here, here, and here. Chicken expert Murtoff, along with the owner of a small flock of Black Australorps, are featured.


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