By Tiffani Stewart
St. Charles City-County Library District
You’ve thought about it. You’ve curiously watched them at your neighbor’s house. You’ve pictured a coop that would look just right…over there. And of course, you’ve tasted those delicious farm-fresh eggs. But should you raise chickens in your backyard? Let’s consider this burning question together.
As many of you know, I moved to Missouri from Las Vegas, Nevada, just over two years ago. Not only am I no expert on chickens, but I had never even eaten an egg that wasn’t white until, well, just over two years ago. But I am fascinated by the idea of raising chickens. And I have the St. Charles City-County Library.
Anytime you are considering a new hobby, the library should be your first destination—even if your hobby is still in your imagination! The books, the online resources, the movies, the programs, and the library staff that will help you wade through it all are there waiting for your curiosity to bring you through the doors.
But I digress. (And this may happen to you when you visit the library. Warning: there is a lot to catch your attention. For example, you may go looking for chicken books and end up with three of those, a gardening book, a movie about World War II, and the newest romance novel by an author you love. I’m mentioning this because it happened to a friend of mine.) So, what does a potential chicken owner need to consider? In The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Andy G. Schneider and Brigid McCrea (2017), there are several issues that every hobby farmer should think about before falling in love with those little balls of fluff:
-What are the laws and regulations in your area? Many cities and neighborhood associations have restrictions on the types of pets that owners can have. Make sure you are not breaking laws or codes in your quest for a better breakfast.
-Do you have space and money for a chicken coop? Plus space for the chickens to roam? (Yes, I said chickens with an S. They are social, so plan to get 4-6 birds.) They will need housing and fencing. They also eat, and that costs money too.
-What about predators? Sometimes they already live at your house! Cats and some dogs love chickens too, but not in the way you may hope. Also consider the need to protect your chickens from raccoons, rats, skunks, snakes, and large birds. (The housing and fencing will help.)
-Are you up for the work? After chickens eat, they create manure, which will need your attention. You will also need to collect eggs daily. And if you leave town, you’ll need to find a chicken-sitter. (Does that exist? Back to the Library!)
If these questions have you brainstorming answers and not throwing up your hands in despair, you may be ready to be a chicken farmer! There are lots of benefits, by the way. Besides the delicious daily egg source, chickens have interesting personalities. They also dispose of kitchen waste, and their aforementioned manure can be used for fertilizer. They love to eat bugs too. And if your kids need some extra responsibility, they can handle the manure thing. (And maybe the egg collection too if you’re feeling generous.)
Whatever your interests, find out more at the Library. And while you’re there, try out some of these classes and events:
- MahJongg* (Boone’s Trail) Thurs., Mar. 1st, 15th, and 29th, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Join a fun group with sharp minds! Learn and play MahJongg every other Thursday.
- Explore the Library Online (Boone’s Trail), Mon., Mar. 1st, 10-10:45 a.m.
The library offers lots of online resources. Learn to use your computer at home to access magazines, encyclopedias, tutorials, and even language learning.
- Fiction Fans Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), Mon, Mar. 12th at 6:00 p.m.
Read Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith, then join us for great discussion.
- I Love Quilts (Augusta), Tues., Mar. 13th, 2:00 p.m.
Let’s learn an old favorite quick quilt, the Slash-a-Stash. And don’t forget Show and Tell.
- New Melle Nonfiction Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Mar. 15th, 10:00 a.m.
Pick up The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin and join us for…wait, this one’s not true! Yes, the Nonfiction Book Club is branching out this month into historical fiction. Come discuss.
- Book Discussion (Augusta), Mon., Mar. 19th, 2:00 p.m.
We’ll discuss Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan. Pick up your copy today.
- Movie Talk: Selma* (Boone’s Trail) Mon, Mar. 26th, 6:00 p.m.
Check out“Selma” and watch at home,then join us for a great discussion and a tasty treat.
- Knit-a-Long (Augusta), Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
The Augusta Knitting Club meets every Thursday to create with friends.
- Coffee at the Library (Augusta), Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.
Come in for a fresh cup of hot goodness while you browse the library’s latest materials.
- Lady Liberty is Here! (Augusta), Mar. 1st, 12:00 noon-7:00 p.m. drop in
Learn fun facts about the Statue of Liberty and color a bookmark.
- Story Time(Boone’s Trail), Tues., Mar. 6th, 6:00 p.m. or Thurs., Mar. 8th, 10:30 a.m.
Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 2-6.
- Springtime Perler Beads (Augusta), Sat., Mar. 10th, Mon. Mar. 12th, or Tues., Mar. 13th
Drop in during regular library hours to create your own masterpieces using plastic beads.
- Tale Waggers*(Boone’s Trail), Tues., Mar. 13th at 6:00 p.m.
Bring a book or choose one of ours to read to an attentive, adorable dog for 10 minutes. Dogs are good and patient listeners. Presented by Love on a Leash.
- Story Time(Boone’s Trail), Tues., Mar. 20th, 6:00 p.m. or Thurs., Mar. 22nd, 10:30 a.m.
Hear some stories, sing some songs, and enjoy a craft. Open to children ages 2-6.
- Teen/Tween Egg Hunt* (Boone’s Trail), Sat., Mar. 24th, 10:30 a.m.
Have fun searching for eggs filled with treats. Bring a friend and see who collects the most eggs. This event will be held outdoors.
- Movie Night: Lego Ninjago Movie (Augusta), Wed., Mar. 28th, 6:30 p.m.
Come join the fun and watch the Lego Ninjago Movie. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served!
*Register at www.youranswerplace.org or call Boone’s Trail at 636-398-6200 or Augusta at 636-228-4855.
Boone’s Trail and Augusta branches are open Mon. and Tues. from 12:00 noon-8:00 p.m., Thurs. from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., and Sat. from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Boone’s Trail is also open Wed. from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.