From the Editor’s files: Maybe it’s time to get some chickens

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By Paul Rhodes, publisher and editor

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A family builds a house in a brand-new housing development and decides to raise chickens in the front yard…
Okay, that’s not a classic joke from my archives, but it is the synopsis of a pretty funny story from many years ago when I was doing some landscaping around my new house in Goddard. I had a vivid memory of that story Tuesday when I was reading through the “Goddard Glance” that comes in the envelope with my water bill each month.
The “Glance” is a nice little newsletter from the folks down at City Hall, making note of things that should be of interest to local citizens in the community. I think other communities in our readership area do that for their citizens, as well.
Well, this month the top story in the “Glance” had to do with chicken permits. It went on to note that the city of Goddard allows citizens to have up to six female chickens, if they (the residents, not the chickens) can build a coop and a run for the chickens. In other words, a pen to go along with the chicken coop.
Now for the official part: A chicken permit is also required and must be renewed annually. And, if you have an HOA in your neighborhood, you also have to obtain permission from them before you can pull a chicken permit. From there, you can pull a permit either in person or online.
I’m not sure how my HOA would react to the prospect of me having a half dozen chickens in my back yard, but just for an instant I could see myself with a chicken coop and pen coming off the side of my tool shed. I’ve already promised Kim a little greenhouse on one side of the shed, but the chicken coop and pen could go on the other side.
It’s shady there, and the chickens might like that better, anyway.
And what about the funny story from years ago when I was landscaping my yard? Here goes:
We had decided to put in a courtyard in front of the house, and wanted to ring it with some antique wrought iron fencing sections. Those sections would span the entire frontage of our house, and needed to be supported with some pretty substantial posts.
Never one to come in at half speed on a project like this, I dug deep post holes and set 4 x 4 posts in the holes with concrete. The only option was eight-foot-tall posts, so while the concrete set up, I had nearly a dozen tall posts outlining where this fence was going to go.
There weren’t a lot of houses in this brand-new housing development, but I did know Joe and April Torske just two houses down. Always a prankster, April Torske told me one day that when asked by other neighbors, she told them I was putting in a huge pen in my front yard, and I was going to raise chickens.
I’m sure City Hall got some phone calls about chicken permits after that.
Never did my neighbors truly have to worry about chickens in my front yard. The courtyard fence turned out to be beautiful, and to this day I still have an enviable space inside the fence filled with flower beds, stone pathways and yard art. And not a single chicken in sight.
But the prospect of chickens in my back yard is something to ponder, and they might fit well with my future gardening plans. They could provide eggs for our kitchen, and fertilizer for the garden.
And a funny new layer to my “chicken pen in the front yard” story.