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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Free Seminar Teaches Ins-and-Outs of Urban Chickens

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 6:43 AM

A St. Louis chicken. - PHOTO BY KELLY GLUECK
  • PHOTO BY KELLY GLUECK
  • A St. Louis chicken.

Are you a city dweller who's been thinking about getting into the chicken game?

Even as St. Louis' Board of Aldermen contemplates relaxed rules that would allow city households as many as eight chickens or rabbits in normal-sized lots — and even more if you have some serious acreage — raising these birds in the city isn't always easy. See our recent cover story, "Confessions of a Southside Chicken Farmer," for an entertaining read on just that.

On Thursday, June 22, the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue, 314-289-4400) aims to demystify the process a little bit, with a free session aimed at helping newbies get started. Dr. Patrick Biggs, flock nutritionist at Purina Animal Nutrition, will give a special presentation on the basics of raising backyard chickens beginning at 6:30 p.m. There is no admission fee, and no need to sign up. Just stop by and start listening; the talk is slated to last about 45 minutes.

And if you can't make it for Biggs' presentation, the science center has a daytime option for you. Its GROW gallery now has a flock of chickens living on site (including, apparently, a breed called Easter Eggers, which lay blue eggs). The daily "Chicken Chats," held at GROW, are a way to learn more about backyard livestock, with sessions that include predator-proofing your coop, chicken anatomy and, yes, pecking order.

“The Chicken Chats are very hands-on,” explains Maddie Earnest, manager of the GROW gallery, in a press release. “Visitors can feed the chickens a snack. There are so many different conversations you can have from interacting with our friendly flock.”

See? Nothing to it.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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