Sharing Your Chicken TV on an Urban Farm

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello To the right I am installing an art piece, but it’s tarp covering the chickens that gets the most attention!

Today we are talking about Chicken TV On An Urban Farm. If you have ever had chickens, regardless of where, you are aware of Chicken TV. There are YouTube Channels! Chicken TV is just watching chickens hunt and peck and wander.

It’s a bit different on an urban farm, because there are so many more predators. Conversely, there is also a larger audience watching because the Chicken Run is a large screen Chicken TV. I was considering building an art installation or mural on the western shed, but it seems the chickens are far more interesting!

What I Learned During Work From Home

During COVID19 Lockdown over 2020 and 2021 I realized the chickens and ducks have a broad audience here at Mezzacello. I realized working from home that many of my neighbors make it a point to stop and visit the chickens.

Admittedly it’s not common to see chickens in downtown Columbus, but it’s more than that. People have begun to see the poultry as part of the neighborhood. These are the people I call the chicken whisperers.

Who Are The Chicken Whisperers?

I was seeing it again and again. The people that go out of their way to talk to the chickens:

  • The dog walkers
  • The students walking to school
  • The nurses, doctors and patients in the clinic
  • The public dog treatment events in the parking lot
  • The paper shredding company
  • The AT&T and AEP Pole Repair crews
  • Just random people

All of them take time to interact with the chickens in my large screen Chicken TV that faces the alley. I also know this is true because of the response to the green tarp to shield the chickens and ducks from the harsh sunlight.

Are The Chickens All Right?

Every time I am out in the yard over the past week I get this question again and again. Are the chickens all right? Do you still have the chickens? Yes, yes! The run is now 3 meters tall, so it allows FAR more sunlight into the run and the poultry need more shade.

I grabbed the first thing I had on hand — a green tarp to give them shade. But the feedback from the public has been immediate. We miss the chickens! And so I went out after like the 10th comment and took a photo and it is jarring.

So now I must find a compromise. How do I shield my animals and give the animals much needed shade? My first instinct is a tarp, but the neighbors and visitors hate it. What should I do?

The euonymus hedge is slow growing to the south of the chicken run, but it’s going to be a minute before it’s full. I am also getting pushback that people will “miss talking with the chickens” if the hedge gets too thick.

What Do You Lot Think?

So let’s brainstorm together. What are your thoughts? If you’ve driven past Mezzacello, or if you have experience what would you suggest? Do I just use white lattice all across? Do I use screen that you can see through? Do I not allow the hedge to grow there? A piece of public art? Share your thoughts!

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