Urban Farming on the Rise


By Kayleigh McCullough
Chicken hatcheries are getting more orders for baby chicks, but they aren’t going to country farms.  Recently more people are raising chickens in urban areas.

Des Moines feed and Garden Shoppe has been selling poultry since 1944.  According to owner Ralph Holt their records show the number of people buying chickens has been on the rise.
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Des Moines resident Sara Figgins has been raising chickens in her backyard for the last three years.
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Figgins says she loves to garden and grow her own food, raising chickens wasn’t that far off.  She has tracked her progress of moving to a greener lifestyle, but she finds that raising nine chickens along with her five kids hasn’t been too hard.
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Each hen produces an egg every other day, which adds up to enough to provide for the family and even sell the extras.

Des Moines Feed and Garden Shoppe sells a variety of chicken breeds depending on your wants and needs. Holt recommends winter hardy birds for Iowans, so they don’t have any trouble with the unpredictable weather.

Each city has it’s own poultry laws, but Des Moines’ are fairly lenient.  There is no permit required and the number of birds you can own depends on the amount of land you live on.

Figgins recommends talking with neighbors before starting any chicken venture. She lets her chickens out during the day to roam around her unfenced yard. While they sometimes wander into the neighbors yard they always come back to their coop at dusk.

Both Holt and Figgins agreed urban farming is a lifestyle choice that would be hard to reverse. Whether it’s about taste, health or bringing back old memories the numbers show more Des Moines residents are becoming urban farmers.

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