Pets with benefits
They will eat from your hand, sit in your lap, follow you around the yard, wait for you at the door. They have great personalities, and are incredibly curious and active. They rise early and like to go to bed on their own. They tirelessly forage for food on their own, and they are very low maintenance. They are not like many animals and are just as happy when you are not at home. One great thing about this animal is they can happily sit in your lap, but they will also poop in your lap. It is not a dog, cat or even a rabbit. It is a lovely, simple backyard chicken.Raising backyard chickens is simple. As long as you have got the basic survival necessities covered you will be fine. Chickens have the same survival needs as people do – shelter, water, and food.
Why chickens? Chickens are no longer only associated with farms and wide open spaces. Backyard chickens are considered to be a modern cultural phenomenon. Families are adding a small flock (2-5) to their backyard, right next to the doghouse.
Eric Saunders is a new backyard chicken owner. His family attended a chick-chat class at Davis Feed in Randleman, N.C. In the class Saunders learned about how to raise chickens from incubating baby chicks, feeding, laying eggs, and raising up to a full grown chicken. It was considered a family project to start raising chickens in their yard.
“We have a 5-year-old daughter and we wanted to teach her the basic of taking care of another life,” Saunders said. “There are great perks to keeping chickens. It keeps the family outside together, it keeps our daughter away from the television, and there is a natural benefit. We have fresh eggs. We do not have to spend money on eggs anymore.”
There are many benefits to raising a small backyard flock. Fresh eggs are the primary reason people keep chickens. Hens will start laying eggs at about 6 months old. They will consistently lay an egg every 1-2 days for several years.
Chickens are compost factories. They will turn almost any kitchen scrap into a nutrient rich garden additive – poop. They eat vegetable scraps, bread, grains, and even meat scraps. By allowing your chickens to roam out of the coop, they will landscape around your trees and shrubs. They will also hunt down insects. Chickens eat fresh grass and plants shoots.
Saunders said over the 22 months they have had their chickens they have not had any problems with wildlife. He keeps his chickens in a gated yard. He keeps their surroundings clean by changing the hay every two weeks, spraying, and sponging down the coop, and keeping fresh water and food available for them daily.
There is one primary drawback with having chickens.
“No matter how clean you keep the coop; they are chickens and they smell. The summer heat intensifies the smell of the chickens. But overall we have enjoyed our chickens. Even our dogs like them. They are a great family project. They are our pets with benefits,” Saunders said.
City Guidelines for backyard chickens:
Requires minimum of two acres for chickens depending on property zone
Allowed no more than one adult over six months of age will be permitted for every 500 square feet of a lot area
Fencing-A minimum four (4) foot high fence, of an acceptable material approved by the Enforcement Officer, must be provided to prevent animals from leaving the property.
Enclosure must be at minimum 30 square feet for neighboring property.
For more information contact High Point Planning and Development Inspections Services Division for complete list of ordinances regarding keeping fowl at 336-883-3345 or www.highpointnc.gov/plan.
Archdale: Any kept poultry/fowl are prohibited in Archdale
For more information contact Archdale Animal Control at 336-434-3134 or www.archdale-nc.gov.
Must keep the poultry in an enclosure such as a fenced-in lot or yard
Must keep adequate housing which must be maintained in a sanitary manner.
Housing may not be located within 50 feet of buildings of adjoining property owners.
Must allow police officer to enter the premises where such poultry or fowl is being kept for the purpose of inspecting such premises.
Allowed to keep roosters as long as there is no nuisance concerns for neighbors
For more information contact Thomasville Animal Control at 336-249-0131 or www.thomasville-nc.gov.