Backyard chickens are all the rage these days.
With growing numbers of people becoming more concerned about where their food comes from and what, exactly, goes into the production of that food, self-sufficiency practices are growing increasingly common. Vegetable gardens and backyard chicken coops are popping up in neighborhoods all across the country.
Manchester, Connecticut is one example of a place where urban chickens have become so popular, that the city amended its zoning laws in March of 2015 to accommodate them. Manchester residents of single-family homes are now legally allowed to raise as many as 12 hens (but no roosters), so long as they provide appropriate shelter for the birds.
Keeping up with the exploding popularity of backyard chickens, Manchester Community College (MCC) is offering a specialized course designed to prepare interested parties for the task of raising their own chickens.
The course instructor, Bettylou Sandy, an experienced chicken owner herself, says the course covers everything from where to buy chickens, to how to care for chicks, to how to provide and maintain appropriate housing, to how to maximize the birds' egg-laying capacities. In short, this course is a miniaturized everything-you-need-to-know primer to get people started on the right foot.
According to Sandy, there's a lot to learn when it comes to raising chickens properly.
"When you first buy a baby chick, they're so cute but they need special care, extra heat, food, and medication. They need a large space and different food," she says.
Offered Monday, March 7 and Saturday, March 12, the two-hour, $55 course is the perfect opportunity to educate potential chicken owners about the burdens and benefits of raising their own birds. They'll have the opportunity to ask questions of an experienced chicken owner and decide if they're ready for the challenge...and the delicious fresh eggs!
Read more about MCC's crash course on raising backyard chickens here.