City dwellers crow over backyard chickens
Last Updated: 253 days ago
TAMPA, Fl. - In a south Tampa neighborhood, in the shadow of downtown, a tiny webcam is capturing one family’s passion. Fifteen-year-old Winslow Liggett is tending to the family chickens, and making every minute of it public on his website.
“The chickens, they’re different,” said Winslow. “Just about everybody has a dog, but not very many people have chickens.”
It is a true family affair. Win’s mother, Kim is a "city girl" by day, with her interior design business. But after work, she trades out the fancy pumps for something more functional, and gets to work. But why trade Jimmy Choo for Cockadoodledoo? For Kim, there are several reasons.
“Well, the eggs, number one,” said Kim. “But actually, for us, it’s probably just about getting back to basics and just hanging out with them.”
Kim insists the eggs taste better because the chickens are raised in a stress-free environment. The Liggetts are one family in a growing trend of city dwellers who are choosing to raise chickens, often right in the backyard. Cities vary in terms of legalities regarding raising chickens, but a growing number are adjusting their ordinances to accommodate this trend.
Joey Holloway, of Holloway’s Farm Supply is selling lots of chickens to city folk these days. He says, on average, a family will purchase three to four chickens along with the coop. His coops start at about $200. The chickens start at $3 a peep. They have photos of the coops on their website, at www.Hollowayschickencoops.com.
“People want to raise chickens in their backyards. They want to be sustainable, to be able to have their own food, and to know where their food is coming from.” said Holloway.
Holloway says funny thing is, there’s usually one family member, maybe a husband or wife, who doesn’t want the chickens at first. But over time, he says that’s the family member who winds up getting really attached to them.
The Liggetts insist the chickens really don’t require a lot of maintenance. Regular food and water are a must, of course. Several times a month a family member will rake out the coop and put down fresh pine shavings or hay.
A chicken usually lays one egg a day, and with seven chickens, that’s plenty of breakfast for the Liggetts. Kim admits not everybody understands why they would want to raise chickens.
“Raising chickens in the city -- A lot of people don’t realize they have the personalities that they do. They’re not dumb animals.”
In fact, the chickens are considered family pets. Each of the seven have names. They are Lucy, Ethel, Effie, Essie, DW, GW, and Lucky. And they don’t appear to mind being very public chickens, as they scratch their way through the day on a 24-hour webcam.
Winslow remembered being captivated by the baby chicks that were hatched in class when he was in elementary school. And he’s had some other family pets on his website, so why not a chicken cam? You can check in on Lucy, Ethel, and the rest of the cluck crew at www.thecluckcrewcam.com.
Winslow says he recommends raising chickens to his friends, both for fun, and of course, for the eggs.
“Since they’re not as stressed as some chickens from commercial egg farms, you get really good organic eggs and you know exactly where they are coming from.”
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