I remember distinctly one Easter season a dozen or so chickens made their way into my grandparents’ house. The chickens arrived by U.S Mail in a small box with little holes cut into it.Â My cousin Jackie and I played incessantly with the little yellow fuzz balls, and amazingly none of them died from over handling. Since it was still too cold for the chicks to be outside, they were diverted to a temporary home on a stair landing which led to the basement. My pinkeye, which kept me from kindergarten the day we did finger painting, was blamed on the critters. My art career never took off, but I still love fresh eggs and chicken legs.
Â Thatâ€™s why I am looking forward to the chicken invasion in Lansing. Many cities across Michigan have changed city ordinances to allow the raising of hens in backyards. Nearby Portland and East Lansing already allow the famed feathered friends. It especially made sense in East Lansing where a poultry expert once ruled the College. Technically speaking, Lansing residents can already raise hens in the backyard since Ingham County allows up to four hens in an enclosure. Hen raising is limited to single family or two family dwellings, but there is a minor problem in Lansing since most lot sizes are too small to meet the standards for raising chickens. Typical requirements call for chicken coops to be 40 feet from a neighborâ€™s residences, and most of us who live in the city know that lot sizes are often only 33 feet wide, which seems to preclude a coop and chickens. Lansing will have to figure that out.
For those who like to sleep in on weekends, not to worry- roosters are banned. For non- farms folks, those are the critters which do the â€œcockadoodledo.â€ Also for the squeamish, chickens will not be allowed to be killed on the property. Iâ€™m not sure what homeowners will do with hens who quit laying. I know my at Grandma Ninaâ€™s house, the spent out chickens made it into a tasty gumbo. Maybe, we can take egg-less hens for a ride and drop them off in the country. In the meantime, I will continue to work for eggs.Â
Full disclosure: I was once the dancing chicken at Meridian Mall. And thatâ€™s a â€˜nother story.
Lisa Ostler of Mason offers tips on raising chickens