Raising chickens growing in popularity

July 5, 2010 5:23:12 PM PDT
More people are making an effort to eat food that's locally sourced, even growing fruits and vegetables in their own gardens. Now, some are also getting their dairy products close to home. Cats and dogs may provide fun and companionship, but more people are getting pets that also provide food. We caught up with a few local folks who say raising chickens is both easy and "green."

Helen Standen has been raising chickens for the past five years -- not on a country farm, but in her Oak Park backyard.

"I wanted my kids to have a sense of where their food comes from and their place in the cycle of life," said Standen.

She says they are basically low maintenance pets, but the eggs she gets are worth any work.

"It's not any more than a dog or a cat. You have to check them twice a day to make sure the food and water is full," said Standen. "It's a challenge slightly when you go out of town, just because it's an unusual request for a housesitter to deal with the chickens."

Tari Delisi is new at it. She purchased her chicks from a local feed store just last spring.

"They were a day old when we got them, and it's been a pretty smooth experience," said Delisi.

Like most chickens, Opal and Honey are happy eating table scraps or foraging for bugs in the yard, making them low-cost and little trouble.

"The noise and the smell are pretty minimal. I can't duplicate the sound very well, but they make this kind of low, humming sound and that's it," said Delisi.

Roosters, on the other hand, are a bit more vocal. Mable is one of seven chickens Jim Lichon owns. He says even with the noise, his neighbors in the city's Cragin community are more fascinated than annoyed.

"Every toddler to like 8-year-old, family, friends have come over to see the chickens," Lichon said. "I started with three chickens-- that's all I wanted, was three--and my neighbor liked them so much that he wanted some chickens, so this spring I ended up getting more."

If you are thinking of getting chickens, first check with your municipality and make sure it's legal. Some areas ban chickens altogether. Others may have noise ordinances, so a rooster might spell trouble.

www.backyardchickens.com

www.natureshatchery.com

The Feed Store
5400 S Harlem Ave
Summit, IL 60501-1102
(708) 458-1327


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