Our chickens made the paper, read all about it. (BYC cont)

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by backdoorchicken, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. backdoorchicken

    backdoorchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,924
    47
    201
    Jul 14, 2009
    newport news va
    http://www.dailypress.com/features/family/dp-gl_chickens_0920sep20,0,7213938,full.story


    [​IMG]


    A Newport News couple brings chickens home to roost.

    Adam Bollinger and his girlfriend Erica McFaddin spent 22 weeks patiently waiting for it.

    Then one recent afternoon, it arrived. Bollinger stepped into the couple's Newport News backyard and spied a perfect little pale-blue oval resting precariously inside his homemade chicken run.

    One of his five chickens — named Paula Deen after the sassy Southern television chef — finally did what nature says hens are supposed to do.

    "I went out there to take them a little snack ... and there it was sitting on the ground," Bollinger said of his very first home-raised egg. "It wasn't even up in the nest boxes. It's a little smaller than the regular egg — a practice egg, I guess."

    The size didn't matter.

    "I was proud and excited at the same time. I've been waiting a while for that to happen."

    Bollinger and his girlfriend are new to chicken wrangling. But if press accounts are any indication, the Newport News couple are part of national trend. For years, enthusiasm for the idea of keeping chickens in urban and suburban areas has been building, news reports say.

    After deciding to try chickens for both eggs and companionship, Bollinger and McFaddin bought their first baby birds in April. The five 1-day-old chicks arrived and eventually learned to live in a fenced-in, sheltered run that Bollinger constructed with help from a friend and advice from Internet forums and reference books such as "Raising Chickens for Dummies" by Kimberly Willis with Rob Ludlow.[​IMG]

    Today, the couple's five young hens — Mother Theresa, Surfin' Bird, Bearded Lady, Queen Latifah and Paula Deen — cluck comfortably in the pen which is tucked into a shady corner of the couple's large lot off Maxwell Lane.

    Bollinger built a small window on one side of the coop so he can peer inside. The whole operation is neat and surprisingly odor-free.

    "They're relatively clean, cleaner than you'd think," Bollinger said, who rakes out the run twice a week. He says he's confident that his small chicken run is in compliance with local laws.

    Bollinger's first egg arrived the second week of September and has since been followed by several more.

    "It's just another way of producing food," Bollinger said of his first experiment with animal husbandry. "It's like a garden if you asked me. But instead of vegetables, you're producing protein ... We're working on collecting recipes for omelets and for egg salad."

    It's difficult to know how many people on and around the Peninsula are, like Bollinger, keeping chickens. Since local laws govern where — and if — livestock can be kept around residences, some owners may keep hens on the down low.

    City officials in Hampton and Newport News said they've seen no increase in questions about rules regarding chickens and no increase in complaints about them. "I don't know if we have a problem," said Harold Roach, director of codes compliance for Newport News. "It hasn't risen to our attention yet."

    But in Smithfield, a livestock supply clerk says she's seen a definite upsurge in first-timer interest.

    "We're seeing more and more new people, we're selling a lot of the supplies," said Marie Clark with Southern States Farmers Service Co.

    Clark advises newbies about everything they'll need — from feeders to remedies for lice and worms.

    "My favorite question is 'Do I have to have a rooster to get an egg?' I tell them, 'No. The rooster is only for making more chickens.'"

    She doesn't attribute the spike to any sort of fad. She says it's all dollars and cents. "I think more people are interested because everything's so high," Clark said. "People who had never had gardens before were trying it this year. Same with chickens. They want the eggs."

    On the national level, there's a wealth of evidence that chicken fervor is building. Web sites such as Backyardchickens.com [​IMG] and Urbanchickens.net — where chicken lovers trade tips and experience — have flourished.

    This spring, the Associated Press reported that livestock feed and pet food maker Purina Mills is seeing double-digit growth for its small, 5-pound bag of all-natural poultry feed marketed since 2003 to people who raise small flocks for eggs or as pets.

    News stories emanating from the West Coast and Northeast suggest that those regions are centers of urban chicken activity. But the fever seems to be spreading.

    In Atlanta, Andy Schneider hosts an Internet radio show called "Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer" and has published a pair of books "Chicks are Easy" and "Peep Show."

    National Public Radio has reported that a community garden in Atlanta offers a class called "Chicks and the City" which teaches where to get the birds and what to feed them as well as coop designs and tips for thwarting predators such as hawks, raccoons and dogs.

    "With the way the economy is going, people like the idea they can have access to quality eggs and meat right from their backyard, if they need to," Rob Ludlow, a California resident who owns Backyardchickens.com [​IMG], told the Associated Press. But, he added, "It's actually a misconception that it's cheaper to raise your own chickens for the eggs and meat." Chicks cost about $2 to $5 each, he said, plus chicken owners have to pay for a cage or coop, a chicken run and a feeder and waterer.

    Bollinger, 36, said he keeps chickens for many reasons that aren't financial: better food, a reduced carbon footprint, and because he likes taking care of the birds. As a kid, he volunteered at Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton and found he enjoyed the company of fowl.

    Paula Deen doesn't have to worry about ending up in a frying pan, either. Bollinger said he and his girlfriend are hungry only for eggs.

    "We're definitely attached to them," he said of his small flock. "We got them when they were a day old. Any time you get something and raise it up from a baby you're going to get attached."

    He recommended that anyone considering backyard chickens should do his homework before bringing home chicks. They're pets with benefits, it's true, but work, worry and responsibility goes along with keeping the birds.

    "Like any pet, it's definitely a commitment," Bollinger said. "But if you get tired of them you could eat them. But we wouldn't do that."

    News to Use
    The municipal code sections for both Hampton and Newport News regarding the keeping of chickens are nearly identical. Here's what the law says:

    "It shall be unlawful for any person to maintain in the city any poultry or animal within 175 feet of any buildings used for residential purposes or within 250 feet of any church or school building; provided, however, that the person maintaining such yard may do so within 175 feet of such person's own personal residence, and further provided, that this subsection shall not apply to the keeping of pigeons.

    ... Every person maintaining a poultry or animal yard shall keep the same clean and sanitary and free from all refuse, decaying food and excrement.

    ... Every poultry or animal yard, except when located in an area zoned agricultural under any existing zoning ordinances, shall be adequately enclosed and free from any rodents. The presence of any rodent in any poultry or animal yard shall be prima facia evidence that such yard is maintained in violation of this section."

    • For more on keeping chickens in urban areas, visit Backyardchickens.com or Urbanchickens.net
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  2. backdoorchicken

    backdoorchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,924
    47
    201
    Jul 14, 2009
    newport news va
    extra pictures from the article

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. PlymouthRocker

    PlymouthRocker Chillin' With My Peeps

    407
    0
    129
    May 7, 2009
    Plymouth County MA
    Very exciting! I love the photo they took too. What great press.
     
  4. windtryst

    windtryst Chillin' With My Peeps

    416
    2
    146
    May 4, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    Wow! Nice article and you have a great coop and run. No wonder you got in the paper! I am waiting for my EE'S to lay soon...
     
  5. backdoorchicken

    backdoorchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,924
    47
    201
    Jul 14, 2009
    newport news va
    ::waits for rob to notice all the BYC and book plugs::
     
  6. Flintrock

    Flintrock Out Of The Brooder

    45
    1
    24
    Sep 1, 2009
    Flint, TX
    Congratulations on your 15 minutes of fame!!

    It does my heart good to see these articles. The free press is excellent for our cause. Thanks, for being a part of the article and giving up your privacy for a little while.
     
  7. Hi! Great story and pics! Congratulations!
    [​IMG]
    Lisa
     
  8. ClayChicken

    ClayChicken Out Of The Brooder

    44
    1
    24
    Apr 28, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Very cool!
     
  9. Monk

    Monk Chillin' With My Peeps

    520
    0
    139
    May 10, 2009
    I have read several articles now or on TV programs, on chickens raised in backyards. Even while driving I notice more and more coops/chickens, Very cool!

    Nice article, thanks for sharing!
     
  10. backdoorchicken

    backdoorchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,924
    47
    201
    Jul 14, 2009
    newport news va
    this writer calls me often regarding "PHISH" (the band). he is the music guy in our local paper. after the PHISH reunion here we had talked a number of times and my name was in the paper regarding the reunion 3 times so we were then on a first name basis. i added him as a friend on facebook and on day his status update was about him looking for urban cluckers. so i told him i had 5 and he was welcome to check them out. i knew this was going to be a good thing. i hope it gains in popularity in our area. every chicken that becomes a backyard chicken is one less chicken on a truck or a giant farm, pumping out eggs sadly awaiting it's fate when it stops producing. enough people with their own chickens then that's one less tractor trailer packed full of chickens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by