Raising Chickens At Home Gaining In Popularity Nationwide

Raising chickens is gaining in populartiy al over the country. The sluggish economy, health concerns about processed foods, and the green living movement are some of the contributing factors.

After being laid off from her job, New Hampshire resident Mary Bendix decided to plant a backyard garden and raise a few chickens. It wasn’t an entirely new venture for her however. As as a girl, Bendix attended a convent boarding school in Harvard, Mass., where she worked in the gardens, fed the chickens and milked the cows.“I loved it,” she said. “You were outdoors. It was healthy. We did it together.”

Bendix was a little apprehensive at first, not knowing if her neighbors would be receptive to the idea. Instead, the neighbors have welcomed the zucchini, cucumbers and other fresh produce Bendix shares, and they also know that if either of the two roosters starts crowing in the middle of the night, it will be dinner for the family tomorrow.

Bendix got her flock started by attending a chicken swap at the local Tractor Supply store. Chicken swaps, which have been described as small livestock yard sales, have been held in southern New Hampshire for about two years, primarily at Tractor Supply, Blue Seal and grain stores.

Most of the swaps are organised by Greg Collins of Hookset, N.H. Collins is a volunteer who runs the swaps and  records sales and forwards the information to the state Department of Agriculture.  The state depends on the records to track sellers in the event of an animal illness. Collins says from six to eight swaps are held monthly across the state.

Bendix also has 2 compost piles in her backyard. One pile is for food sraps from her kitchen, and the other contains yard waste and bedding from her chicken house. She says that growing her own vegetables and raising chickens has lowered her food bill and provided other values as well. She uses the garden to teach her granchildren the value of natural resources and the principles of sustainable living.

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