Have you heard the latest news out of Papillion, NE? In the heart of the Midwest Papillion's city council has voted down 6-2 that residents aren't allowed to raise chickens in there backyard! Can you believe that? In the middle of the heartland, local governments are dictating what people can and cannot raise on their land. It's almost like the land isn't ours. Hmmm.
Luckily, I don't live in Papillion and am not under these same regulations. Recently, I've become really good friends with one of my neighbors who owns a small acreage about 2 blocks from my house. My kids love going to visit the “farm”, which has goats, cows, a horse, a swing set and most importantly chickens. “Daddy, can we go feed the chickens!!” <– I hear about 5 times a day.
Part of me thinks I love going over there more than my children, which is probably because I was raised on a farm. Needless to say, my boys are getting a little taste of the farm in our backyard and having fun at the same time.
Bad news for the old chickens
About two weeks ago I noticed that when we went to visit, there were only two chickens left and feathers everywhere in the pen. I asked the farmer where all the chickens went and he said the coons got into the pen. :( I asked, “So are you planning on buying more chickens?” Farmer: “Yep, I've got a guy looking at local sales for me.” Charlie: “Would you mind
if I went in on that with you, and split the costs of the chickens?” Farmer: “Sure!” And that was the start of me and my family raising chickens for eggs.
Raising Chickens in Suburban Areas
Raising chickens in suburban Omaha is a treat. It gives my boys a taste of the farm, but yet we still like 15 minutes from downtown Omaha. My neighbor has been awesome in allowing me and my family to raise chickens on his farm, and I've worked a lot to clean up the chicken coop pens and improve the outdoor netting of the chicken area. Either way, we are both improving each other circumstances in much the same way that people offered up services or bartered during the Great Depression.
Tips for raising your own chickens
As my sons' and I have started raising chickens here are a few tips for getting started:
- Have fun – if you break a few eggs during “transporting” then don't sweat it. Chickens will always produce more! :)
- Nesting area – make sure you have a good nested area for the chickens to lay their eggs. Chickens like are area with matted hay, and somewhat enclosed area (feels like home to them).
- Feed – we use a mixture of ground-up corn, and protein pellets to feed the chickens. Chickens are also good at eating kitchen scraps, and especially old vegetables.
- Water – ensure that refill your water daily and clean out the pan/watering jug.
- Coverage from predators – have plenty of protection for the chickens so that no predators get in. This could be anything from coyote, cat, badger, or raccoon. If you don't have a covered fenced-in area, then consider putting your chickens in the coop every night.
Do you raise chickens? What are some tips you have or use? Would love to hear from some of our readers. We may be offering this “raising chickens” as a series, so let us know your interest.