Chickens popping up in local backyards

February 21, 2013 5:58:59 AM PST
Back in 1928, the Republican Party promised a chicken in every pot if Herbert Hoover was elected president.

These days, nobody has much to say about chickens in pots, but chickens in backyards, even in the city, are raising some eyebrows.

"I guess my kids finished college, went off to be on their own, and I got chicks instead of grandchildren," Sherri Klein of Plymouth Meeting said.

Sherri has had backyard chickens for 5 years now.

She is one of the founding member of COOP, Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia.

She says the group has grown from 5 couples to several hundred people now.

She says there are real non-food perks to having them around.

"The chickens, when they are out in the yard, they eat the bugs, they eat the weeds, they eat the weed seeds," Sherri said.

At Maple Acre Farms in Plymouth Meeting, owner Gary McKeown has seen the number of people coming in for home chicken supplies really multiply.

"It amazes me how many people come in," McKeown said.

He says the chicken business helps his farm stay busy in the slower winter months and claims raising chickens isn't hard.

The popularity of raising your chickens isn't just in the suburbs. People in the city are doing it too, but not all cities and townships allow chickens.

Back in 2011, a man was caught raising chickens in South Philly and the birds were banished.

Sherri Klein, however, sees nothing wrong with the backyard chicken.

"They don't need as much land as a dog or cat," Klein said.

While they don't need much land, they do need a little corralling and don't seem to listen well.

Sherri says having the fresh eggs inside makes it worth chasing them down from time to time.

"You can absolutely taste the difference; you can see the difference," Klein said.

If you're interested in having your own backyard chickens, some places do offer classes to help beginners.