Katie Johnson: VandenHeede proposes chicken farmingPublished 11:04pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Although about half of my class consisted of farm kids and they kind of knew the whole process, it was still an education into how chickens start as eggs and eventually grow to become adults, which then become dinner (our kindergarten teacher obviously excluded that part of the process).
That brief foray into chicken farming was the furthest I ever went.
I never even knew a single farmer who owned chickens; most raised cattle and grew crops.
Fast forward to 2010, and the art of chicken farming — not very lucrative, unless you are a large farm operation — and it’s back, at least on a small scale.
As Americans begin to think more about sustainability, local foods and organic farming, foods such as eggs fall into that trend, particularly eggs that came from cage-free and hormone-free chickens.
Chicken farming, like cultivating small herb and vegetable gardens, is becoming popular even in cities such as New York, where “urban farmers” till gardens on their roofs and window sills.
Niles may join the chicken farming trend if council member Dan VandenHeede succeeds with his proposal.
Currently, Niles residents may own livestock if it is at least 100 feet from property lines, which of course means most residents don’t own livestock.
With the proposed change to the ordinance, chickens — no roosters allowed — could be raised within 10 feet of property lines.
This would only apply to chickens, not other livestock, although rabbits may be included.
The council is seeking public input, so voice your opinion if you are for or against having chickens in your neighborhood.
Katie Johnson is managing editor of the Niles Daily Star, Off the Water, Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus.
She can be reached at (269) 687-7713 or at katie.johnson@ leaderpub.com.