A chicken in everyone’s coop coming back around



October 19, 2013 - 12:00 AM

In his campaign for president in 1928, Herbert Hoover ran on the prosperity platform, promising “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”
The Great Depression was on the heels of Hoover’s election. Hoover couldn’t deliver on the chicken, much less the car.
In an interview earlier this week, Debbie and Duwayne Bearden talked about their lives as farmers and pushed the idea of city folk taking more ownership of the food they consume.
The Beardens raise Angus cattle and poultry. And though they know most people have no business around 1,000-pound animals, they reckon most could handle a chicken or two.
For a family, four or five chickens would lay enough eggs to keep them well fed, Duwayne said.
They are easy to maintain, Debbie said, requiring no more than a coop, feed, and the daily routine of collecting the eggs. Debbie said chickens also have unique personalities, remembering her son Travis enjoying being in the coop with them.
“He’d place seed along his arm up to his shoulder,” along which a hen would travel up.
The Beardens collect 104 eggs a day from their brood. This winter they are expecting another “100 pullets coming on,” Duwayne said, which should bring the egg production up to 150 a day, when the molting stage is figured in.
Duwayne said for those who don’t take kindly to pre-dawn crowing, the rooster is superfluous anyway, unless you want the egg fertilized.
Duwayne said growing your own food helps you keep in better touch with what you eat.

IN IOLA, chickens, goats and sheep are off-limits, according to Carl Slaugh, city administrator, and would require a change in city codes to allow such critters.
The farm-to-table movement is changing such requirements. Lawrence and Denver, for example, allow residents to raise chickens, though they limit the size of the brood.
It’s definitely food for thought.