Editor’s Note: From raising chickens and goats to knitting a masterpiece to pickling and preserving, we present your ultimate guide to mastering the homespun, do-it-yourself life in Indy. So slip on your gardening gloves, and let’s get dirty. (See all Indy DIY stories here.)
Raise Your Roost
As co-founder of Nap Town Chickens, Andrew Brake knows plenty of chicken-farmers in town—which means he can help you avoid their mistakes in the INTRO TO BACKYARD CHICKEN FARMING class he runs at his homesteading boutique, Agrarian. The two-hour workshop addresses birdie basics—food and shelter tips, health concerns—plus common student worries about extreme weather (the way our winters are going, you’ll probably need to invest in heat lamps) and breeding behavior (no, you don’t need a rooster to get eggs). If you’re ready to commit, Brake can set you up with a starter coop, feed, and anything else you may need—including, yes, chicken diapers in case you want to invite your poultry pals inside. $10. April 24. 661 E. 49th St., 317-493-1166, agrarianindy.com
Hatch a Plan
With a new chicken coop in the works, Fall Creek Gardens is expanding its class offerings beyond veggies to include seminars on all manner of urban-farming topics, from bees to fruit trees to chickens. Executive director Maggie Goeglein Hanna’s 90-minute session on the latter, RAISING BACKYARD CHICKENS, examines egg-laying basics such as zoning issues; how to operate a quiet, clean coop; and whether day-old chicks (so cute you will get emotionally attached) or full-grown hens (a better bet if you want eggs right away) are best for you. Free. Call for dates. 3005 N. Central Ave., 317-759-3045, fallcreekgardens.org
Pluck Your Dinner
If you look at your flock less as pets and more as future Sunday meals, you’re going to need to know how to aid them along to that big barnyard in the sky. Distelrath Farms’ monthly POULTRY PROCESSING 101 seminar breaks it to you easy, walking students through killing, skinning, and gutting a chicken (generally a younger bird, which will have better meat) in just two hours. $20, or $10 if you bring your own chicken. April 26, May 31, June 28, July 26, Aug. 30, Sept. 27, Oct. 25, and Nov. 29. 6302 E. Raymond St., 317-478-3735, distelrathfarms.com
This article appeared in the April 2014 issue.