Some mothers send their kids to sleep away camp for the summer, but Elizabeth Beller thought it would be more fun to start a mini-chicken farm in her backyard to keep her 10 year-old daughter, Brie, occupied this summer.
“Raising chickens is something I’d always wanted to do,” she said, as Brie chased her new pets around the red chicken coop built from a kit by her 16 year-old brother. “We’re going to need a bigger coop for these hens and then we’ll keep this smaller one for new chicks, or maybe as a sick hospital.”
Elizabeth and Brie bought day-old chicks from farmer Judy Morris, in Weston, and spent many happy hours learning how to feed and care for their new 'babies.' “We were surprised at how much fun they are. They have different personalities and seem much more intelligent than I thought they would be.”
Elizabeth makes regular trips to the Agway store in Monroe for chicken feed, but the thing the 'girls’ like most is pasta, watermelon and corn on the cob. Since these chickens have the run of a nice grassy lawn at their Westport home (where they hoover up grubs and worms) instead of a gritty barnyard, Elizabeth and Brie go to the beach for sand and shells, which they’ve learned the chicken need in order to digest their food.
Elizabeth’s advice to other would-be chicken farmers is to check the deed to their house just to make sure they can raise farm animals. And if you’d like to find out more about Brie’s summer with her chickens, check out Elizabeth’s blog, Chicks with Chicks.