Something got two of my chickens last night or very early this morning. Even the dog (which hears and sees things humans cannot) didn't get up. So in my searching and researching I found this article I thought some of you might find interesting (I didn't include the photo) if you want to see the original post go to http://www.ediblerenotahoe.com/editorial/67-fall-2013/603-fall-2013-flock-of-fowl :
When a family member gave her six chickens 13 years ago, Penny Moezzi Haas, a retired interior designer who lives in southwest Reno, became part of a growing number of urban dwellers who raise poultry in their backyards. Since then, she and her husband, David, have consistently maintained a flock of about 10 birds, which have represented a variety of species such as cochins, leghorns, bantams, and turkens over the years.
Although it's impossible to know exactly how many birds are being nurtured in yards as sources of food and companionship around the country, the increased demand for chicks and the accoutrements needed to raise them indicates a substantial rise in the popularity of backyard poultry. Also, the demand for changes in ordinances to permit raising poultry in non-agricultural areas is on the rise. For instance, urban chickens are allowed in Reno and Washoe County, but not in Sparks unless the property is zoned as agricultural. Carson City allows a maximum of four hens if the property is on less than an acre. In Nevada County, which includes Truckee, chickens aren't allowed on less than a half-acre and there is a limit of 50 per half-acre. In the Lake Tahoe basin, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency rules do not allow chickens and supersede county rules. (For more regulations, see our story on the subject in the spring 2010 edition of edible Reno-Tahoe.) In addition, some homeowners associations have regulations against housing backyard birds.
The most common reason poultry fanciers give for raising chickens is to have access to eggs every day.
"We were really excited about getting fresh eggs," Moezzi Haas says. "They are very yellow, the taste is different, and they are richer since the chickens are free range."
Although a few poultry raisers say they also use the birds for their meat, a large percentage say one of the greatest pleasures is that the chickens become pets that are quite entertaining.
"They have a wide variety of personalities and I just love them," says D.D. Monroe, who raises the birds with her family at their home in the Virginia City Highlands.
Like other domestic creatures, chickens also can be interactive with people.
"I've had chickens that actually will sit in my lap," Moezzi Haas says.
Domestic chickens have the further advantage that they work every day to help control pests and weeds and provide natural fertilizer in their home environments.
The challenges of caring for backyard poultry include keeping them protected from predators, such as dogs, raccoons, and coyotes, and making sure they are fed and watered appropriately and neither too hot nor too cold.
"They have to be confined and protected," Moezzi Haas says.
Her flock is bedded down in coops at night, but allowed to roam free in their fenced yard during the day.
Although members of the Northern Nevada Poultry Fanciers Association encourage backyard chicken farming as a "grand feathered adventure," according to its website, group members also caution that it might not be for everyone. It's important to remember that the birds need appropriate care every day in order to survive, whether you're in town or on vacation.
"You have to be sure they're taken care of," Moezzi Haas emphasizes.
Anyone who is thinking about raising chickens would be wise to head to a feed store, not only to purchase chicks or birds, but also the bells and whistles needed to give those birds the best start in life.
For more details, visit the NNPFA online at Poultryfancier.wix.com/nnpfa.
Jeanne Lauf Walpole is a Reno-based freelance writer who applauds backyard poultry fanciers in their efforts to eat healthier and be closer to the land.