Chicken Coop Research for the Viceroy SRO

LBBA is working with Heartland Housing to develop a chicken coop scheme for the garden at the Viceroy SRO. As part of the project’s urban agriculture and resident engagement program, Heartland would like to raise 8-20 hens on site for egg production and farm-to-table training. We met with Jennifer Murtoff, urban chicken consultant, to explore both the program opportunities and the hazards in translating this enterprise to the city. Jennifer introduced us to three Chicago families operating backyard coops, and we learned that chickens on an urban farm are vulnerable to heavy north winds and predators like hawks, raccoons, and rats. Chickens also provide natural pest control and a hearty compost. At the Viceroy SRO, the urban farming principles will be an integral part of resident education in nutrition and food preparation, and we hope to see this program complement the project’s new green building features and encourage healthy lifestyles.