When City Manager Doug Krieger is done with the books, it’s off to the beaks.
“I was always kind of looking for a unique pet and chickens kind of came to mind, it’s something that’s fairly passive, low maintenance and can feed you breakfast in the morning,” said Doug Krieger, Backyard Farmer.
Krieger is just one of a number of Napervillians jumping on the bird bandwagon and raising their own chickens. While it may seem like a lot o handle, Angel Witt, a backyard farmer herself says it’s actually pretty easy. Plus, the benefits are egg-cellent, fresh organic eggs, compost for your backyard, and even a built in exterminator.
“They love Japanese beetles, slugs and grubs and they just love bugs so they help out the garden in a lot of ways by eating the pest,” said Angel Witt, Backyard Farmer.
But before you go and gather your own, check out the city ordinance. You’re only allowed eight hens per household, no roosters, and you must get an $80 permit.
“The coop needs to be 30 feet away from other residents, not your own home, but from your neighbors home, so you have to have a little distance there and the coop itself also has to be kind of enclosed or hidden with fencing screening or some kind of plants just to keep it not visible from the neighbors view and again 6 ft. tall and 75% of it has to be covered up,” said Julie Kincade, Animal Control Officer for the City of Naperville.
After you’ve built your coop, it’s time to choose your chicken, usually, from a local farm.
“If you want it for eggs you would get a larger egg producing chicken, if you want it for meat you would get a meat producer,” said Witt.
Once the chickens are in the coop, you’ll need to feed them. Though they will snack on bugs, you can round out their diet with vegetables, fruits and chicken feed, that variety will help keep them healthy.
And that’s it! Once you’ve caught the fever, don’t be surprised if others do too.
“It’s just kind of a nice passive hobby, my neighbors have been very interested a lot of people want to come back and check out the coop as well as the chickens and i know the cats enjoy watching the chickens although i don’t let them near them,” said Krieger.
Whether raising chickens for fun or for food locals agree it’s all it’s cracked up to be.
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