Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts Unite
Angelic Organics Learning Center offered their first Basic Backyard Chicken Care workshop in fall 2008 for about 45 people who already had or wanted to get chickens, and the Google group started right after that to keep everyone in communication and helping each other. By the end of 2012, they expect ~250 people will have taken their workshop. The Google group numbers ~400, and there are many more people around Chicago and suburbs keeping chickens and working to create pro-chicken policies where they live. Beloit City Council approved allowing chickens there on Monday (see Beloit Backyard Chickens on Facebook).
The Google group finds homes for lost or abandoned birds (and other animals), and several small support businesses have launched in response to needs expressed on the Google group – Home to Roost backyard chicken consulting, and Backyard Chicken Run home delivery service for pet and chicken supplies, and carpenters who specialize in coop construction. Several area garden and pet supply stores have added products for the growing backyard chickens market to their inventory. We’re an engine for the local economy!
We want to help people raise chickens well for the sake of their birds, their neighbors, and other chicken keepers who are relying on everyone else to keep standards high. We recently worked up baseline standards that we think chicken-keepers in Chicago should aim to meet (or exceed). They are the CCE Recommended Practices (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Tx9tDR5-yIheZ2crpinmOA_ko0wTFMLkbpM9nqeqbb0/edit).