Iron Range backyard chickens to cluck stuff up

They're not clucking around. (PHOTO: wiredforlego, Flickr CC)

They’re not clucking around. (PHOTO: wiredforlego, Flickr CC)

One-hundred years ago debating whether chickens should be allowed in Iron Range back yards would have been like debating whether or not people should breathe air. Chickens were part of the landscape, along with pigs, goats and even cows.

First- and second-generation immigrants had no desire to keep livestock the way dad or grandma did. In fact, they looked down on it. Chickens were to them what walls and walls of decorative plates are to young adults today.

Then, softly at first, then drumming a steady beat to a mighty roar, came the zoning regulations.

Flash forward to the present. Just as with local newspaper editorials about the virtues of mining companies, all that is old is new again.

The Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability will hold a “Backyard Chicken” event this Sunday at 3 p.m. to highlight how and why backyard chickens can become a reality in Iron Range towns.

The event features a discussion with Mike Miller, a Duluth backyard chicken farmer, and former Duluth City Councilor and “backyard chicken enthusiast” Sharla Gardner. Organizers also promise how-to information both on keeping chickens in the city and in lobbying your city council that they should allow you to do so.

In addition to the discussion, the Backyard Chickens event will feature the first-ever Iron Range EGG Cook-off, judged by Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe. So you can bring your favorite egg dish to share for the chance to win a prize. There are three categories: originality/appearance, taste, and crowd favorite.

Appropriately, the egg-eating open forum will occur in a park pavilion, where one further hopes for gentle but firm breeze.

Here are the deets:

What: Backyard Chickens: Featuring speakers, how-to information, & the FIRST ever Iron Range EGG Cook-Off!
When: Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m.
Where: Kline-Cuppoletti Park Facility on Silver Lake (100 N 9th Ave W) in Virginia


  1. Yards had fences back then to either keep the livestock out or in, depending on the yard. Lots of older garages on the Range have hay lofts in the attic.

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