Seminar about raising chickens coming later this month

By Gary Scott on October 12, 2015 at 1:30pm

If you’re interested in some nuggets of information about chickens- specifically, how to raise them- you should mark your calendars for October 27th.

That’s when the University of Illinois Extension in Morgan County will hold a seminar titled “Raising Backyard Chickens Right”. It follows several Jacksonville City Council meetings this summer where residents asked for an amendment to an ordinance that would allow them to raise hens.

Duane Friend with the U of I Extension says raising chickens on a small scale is a topic in which more and more people are becoming interested.

“Some of the things that we’re going to talk about that evening is choosing chicken breeds, how to start with chicks, considerations for building a coop and designing a chicken run, talk a little bit about winter weather, how to overcome some of the dangers with that, and also talk about pressure from predators and a little bit on handling and selling eggs in Illinois safely and legally,” says Friend.

“And- hopefully if it’s available- we’re also going to talk about ordinances in Jacksonville and how to raise chickens in town.”

Jacksonville aldermen have not made a decision yet on whether to change the existing ordinance, which sets a 200-foot distance restriction for having the animals on city property.

The proposed revision would allow four hens and no roosters and would be for the backyards of single-family residences. There would be a 20-foot distance restriction from a neighbor’s house.

Friend adds there will be information about setback options at the seminar.

“There are a lot of things that people have to consider, especially if they haven’t raised chickens before. It’s something that you don’t just go out and buy some, and the next day start getting some eggs,” he says. “So, hopefully this will help provide some information for folks if they’re interested in doing such a thing.”

The U of I Extension is located at 104 North Westgate. The event on October 27th is from 6 to 8 p-m. There’s a five-dollar fee. 4-H members can attend for free.