In an attempt to submit a letter in a lighter vein, I refer to the attention-getting front page headline in the Jan. 8 Argus-Press issue: “Durand council pecks away at chicken issue.”
As a farm boy who has raised hundreds of hens during my high school and college years, and a former vocational agriculture teacher, when eggs can be purchased in many stores for around $1 a dozen, I assure you that raising a few “backyard” chickens is not an economical place to put your kitchen money.
Here are a few facts: On a farm, chicken feed is raised. Off the farm, in the city, one has to purchase all their chicken feed today. Very expensive.
When she reaches maturity, a hen will lay eggs for a few weeks, will lighten up and will take a (deserved) rest called the “moult.” During this time, it amounts to the fact that you will be “boarding” her.
Then there’s housing. The “hen house” and chicken lot produce manure and odor. The manure on the farm is easily disposed of, whereas a “sanitary” place in the city is a problem for nearby fresh air-seeking neighbors.
Let’s face it, the facade of a few chickens for food, at most, is impractical as well as emotional. I don’t think that Hen Henrietta who has become a family pet will ever face the fate of being Sunday dinner’s entree.
The article mentioned that roosters would not be permitted and reminded me of an incident years ago during which I had my egg/dressed chicken route in Lansing. A customer wanted to buy a dozen eggs so that she could hatch them. When I told her that I didn’t have a rooster in the hen house she asked, “Why would that matter?”
A final chicken note: To my knowledge it has never been proven that brown eggs have any more nutritional value than white eggs, nor are “range-fed” chickens’ eggs more tasty.