All cooped up

Tour de Coop puts Cedar Rapids chickens’ homes on display

Cindy Hadish
Published: October 11 2012 | 4:10 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 1:50 am in

CEDAR RAPIDS — An addition to Phil and Katrina Fristad’s backyard in northeast Cedar Rapids was the talk of a neighborhood block party last month, even though few neighbors previously knew it existed.

A chicken coop, blended to match perfectly at the rear of the family’s garage, will soon be on display for even more viewers as one of a half-dozen coops showcased on this year’s Tour de Coop in Cedar Rapids.

Phil Fristad, 42, an employee of ABC Supply Co. in Cedar Rapids, says he developed the coop’s design by reading books and online information and from ideas gathered during last year’s inaugural Tour de Coop.

“This is all out of my head,” Fristad says of the elevated coop for the family’s six hens at 4222 Culver St. NE.

This year’s event, sponsored by Cedar Rapids Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chickens, or CR-CLUC, and the Indian Creek Nature Center, will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 13, 2012.

Rebecca Mumaw of CR-CLUC says the tour is garnering interest beyond aspiring chicken owners in Cedar Rapids, where a 2010 city ordinance alllows up to six hens per household.

Two years later, about 50 households have permits to keep chickens in Cedar Rapids. Around 200 have taken the educational workshop needed to obtain that permit, Mumaw says.

Palo was one of the first Eastern Iowa communities to pass such an ordinance — earlier in 2010 — and Iowa City and Marion are examining the issue, too.

The Iowa City Council will likely consider allowing up to four hens, according to a proposed zoning code amendment.

Dave Hockett, assistant planning and development director in Marion, says staff will look at other communities to draft a proposal to be presented to the Marion City Council after a request was filed last month.

The town of Hills adopted an ordinance in May to allow up to six hens with a permit.

Mumaw says Saturday’s tour will offer ideas for anyone hoping to keep backyard chickens.

Examples include a combination greenhouse/coop and an “artsy” coop that features a solar-powered door and stained glass.

Advocates say urban chickens are an environmentally friendly way to control insects and provide healthy eggs for households and compost for gardening.

The Fristad family, which includes the couple’s three children, collects five to six brown eggs every day.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” Phil Fristad says. “We get a lot of great eggs and the entertainment value is priceless.”

 

FYI

-          Tickets to Tour de Coop, from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, are $10 each and can be purchased at any of the homes on the tour or at the Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE.

-          See: www.indiancreeknaturecenter.org or call (319) 362-0664 for more information.

-          Donations of new or used art supplies will be accepted at each coop home. Donations will go to the Waypoint Teen Advocacy program for at-risk teens.

-          Click here to see how Multimedia Reporter Max Freund made the chicken video

Local Tour de Coop sites:

  • 1665 23rd St. NW
  • 4101 West Valley Dr.
  • 238 Sand Lane NW
  • 2451 Fifth Ave. SE
  • 881 Oakland Road NE
  • 4222 Culver St. NE

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