The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

August 20, 2013

Backyard chickens? A hard-boiled assessment

“Eat local” is the foodie mantra, and nothing is more local than an egg from your own backyard.

That enticement has led many city dwellers and suburbanites to consider putting up a coop and keeping chickens. The online community BackYardChickens.com, for example, has more than 200,000 members, about half of whom have joined in the last two years.

But what’s the cost in time and money — and what will the neighbors think?

Sandy Schmidt of Silver Spring, Md., compares the time required for basic chicken care to that for a more familiar pet: “It’s about like having a cat,” she says. “Make sure they have food and water every day, scoop out the coop — like a litter box — and let them out of the coop.”

One big difference, though, is that your neighbors may never even see your cat, while many people worry about the smell and noise of chickens.

Rob Ludlow of BackyardChickens.com thinks these concerns aren’t usually relevant to the small size of the average backyard flock. After all, he says, “What if everyone thought owning a dog in your backyard would smell and sound like a dog kennel?”

Still, neither dogs nor chickens are silent, so consideration is important. Roosters make most of the noise and aren’t legal in most places, so be aware that if you decide to start with chicks, the sexes can’t always be distinguished at birth. You can avoid this problem by getting adult hens, or make sure you get a breed where the sex differences are obvious.

“There are about four or five breeds out of two or three hundred that can be sexed at birth, just by looking at the color,” says Tyler Phillips of Rent A Coop in Potomac, Md.

Even hens, however, can turn out to be more talkative than expected, as Lisa Sandbank of Santa Monica, Calif., found out.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hopkins to pay $190M after doc taped pelvic exams

    Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Before doctors check your vitals, check out theirs WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don’t know how to determine that.Being licensed and likable doesn’t necessari

    July 21, 2014

  • McDonald's, KFC in China face scandal BEIJING — McDonald’s and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare today after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken.The companies said they immediately stopped using meat from the supplier, Husi Food C

    July 21, 2014

  • Locally-grown foods look to bigger business

    Once a niche business, locally grown foods aren't just for farmers markets anymore.

    July 16, 2014

  • U.S. Alzheimer's rate dropping The rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries — good news about an epidemic that is still growing simply because more people are living to an old age, new studies show.An American ov

    July 16, 2014

  • Blueberries 10 fresh ways to use fresh blueberries There are muffins, of course. And pancakes. And the obligatory fruit salad. But then what? After all the usual suspects, how do you handle a seasonal abundance of blueberries?As long as you’re willing to consider a few fresh approaches, it’s actually

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • School Lunches [Duplicate] Officials try healthier cafeteria options BOSTON — Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates — without turn

    July 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kung Pao chicken Inauthentic, but fast and delicious kung pao pork Let’s just get something out of the way right at the top. This is not an authentic kung pao recipe. If you are looking for an authentic kung pao recipe, just move along.If, however, you are looking for a crazy delicious weeknight-friendly recipe for

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end — with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers — but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 14, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.