CHESTERTON | The humans outnumbered chickens, barely, at the Westchester Public Library’s Thomas branch on Thursday night as a packed house came out to hear about how to raise happy, healthy chickens.
Library staffers Julie Bohannon and Rhonda Mullin displayed metal cages with a number of different breeds of chickens along with examples of the equipment, books, and supplies they use to raise chickens at their homes.
“We both lived in the country and we both decided we wanted to live with chickens. We’re not experts, but we can tell you what we know,” Mullin said.
They showed slides of their home setups, demonstrating how they raise the chickens to provide eggs for their families, as well as meat in the form of broilers.
“Besides a chicken, you’ll need a place for them to live, a place for them to have fresh water and food,” Bohannon said, noting that they had started two years ago with minimal funds necessary.
Throughout the presentation the chickens warbled and cackled as Bohannon and Mullin discussed such details as predators, safety issues, ventilation, common problems, brooding, cleaning and storing and coops.
“Everything you see here, minus the chicken wire, we found around our house. The wood was from our old kitchen cabinets after we remodeled, the roof part was from a job we did on our barn, the branch in there was for them to roost on and we found it in the woods,” Bohannon said.
Librarian Leea Yelich said the program was one of the most popular programs the library has had recently and she was pleased with the turnout.
In addition to talking about the way to build a chicken coop so that the birds stay warm in winter and have ways to entertain themselves free from harm, Mullin and Bohannon discussed the benefits and challenges of raising free-range chickens.
“My vision of having chickens was, you know, what you see on TV, running around. But one night we forgot to close the door and we lost every chicken we had, to a coyote or a raccoon, so we had to start all over,” Mullin said.
Bohannon said they installed a video camera to catch the cause of her diminishing flocks — a mother fox looking to feed her young.