Urban chickens get state-of-the-art coops through POC POC

Six-year-old Ely Charbonneau Alain and Lilly the red hen get to know each other. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Mélanie Charbonneau and her family didn’t have any pets, but when she read an article about urban chickens, her first thought was: ‘Why not?’

So last summer, her family and four neighbouring families in the Rosemont/Petite-Patrie borough signed up for a pilot project run by POC POC to try out the Montreal startup’s urban chicken coops. They received a state-of-the-art coop, three chickens and enough food to keep the animals going between May and October.

“I just saw the article and thought, ‘My God, this could be interesting,’ ” said Charbonneau, who has two boys ages four and six. “It was a great experience. We didn’t have any problems and we saw all kinds of advantages. The most important thing was the idea of educating the kids. We don’t have much of a chance to be in contact with nature. So it was really great for the kids.”

On Thursday, Montreal company POC POC unveiled its new urban chicken project, with plans to sell their chicken coops across Canada. The company also announced a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the project. Their coops went on sale Thursday.

It costs about $1,200 to buy the coop, though POC POC was selling them on its site for $1,020 plus tax on Thursday. For $1,280, you get the coop plus two egg-laying hens.Six-year-old Ely Charbonneau Alain and Lilly the red hen get to know each other.

Six-year-old Ely Charbonneau Alain and Lilly the red hen get to know each other. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

It is legal to have chicken coops in Rosemont/Petite-Patrie and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, but a spokesperson for POC POC said it is tolerated right across the city and that they sold coops to people in other boroughs last summer. They only use female chickens, so you don’t need to worry about waking the neighbours at the crack of dawn with the rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo.

POC POC was founded in 2015 by Alexandre McLean and Étienne Lapierre, two of the founders of Alvéole, a company that rents beehives to people who want to harvest their own honey.

“I think it’s important to bring nature back to the city,” McLean said. “I think we’re seeing a change where people are actually bringing back nature. They’re bringing coops. They’re bringing bees. They’re bringing gardens. That brings a whole lot of benefits and gets us closer to our food production.”

The chickens produce eggs, but that is not the main goal of the coops, McLean said.

“They do it for educational purposes,” McLean said. “The eggs are great and they’re very tasty. But it’s not the main objective … they do it so their kids can participate in producing food. It gives them a little hobby.”Six-year-old Ely Charbonneau Alain gets the attention of Cocotte the red hen, as she walks around her new chicken coop in Rosemont May 3, 2018. The company Poc-Poc has launched an urban chicken coop for Montrealers.

Six-year-old Ely Charbonneau Alain gets the attention of Cocotte the red hen, as she walks around her new chicken coop in Rosemont May 3, 2018. The company Poc-Poc has launched an urban chicken coop for Montrealers. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

POC POC provides the buyer with information regarding certified farmers near them where they can buy two chickens. These chickens are able to stay outside in the coops in the winter, but the other option for buyers is to rent the chickens for the summer. It costs about $150 to buy two chickens.

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