Backyard Chickens Growing In Popularity Among Hoosiers

Posted On April 17, 2014

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service


While some Hoosiers voice concerns over health matters, those in favor of ordinances allowing backyard chickens say the birds are a sustainable food source and just as clean as any other pet.
Photo credit: Jason Webber.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Raising chickens in the city is becoming increasingly popular as more Hoosiers move toward eating locally.

Goshen officials this week reversed an earlier decision and will allow residents to raise chickens at their homes.

Karen Schulte-Coman helped get a similar ordinance passed in South Bend. She says her family raises chickens because they are an easy, fresh food source and promote sustainability.

“Part of it is just survival and part of it is just being good stewards of what we’ve been given,” she says. “We see raising chickens, raising hens, as a way to be good to the land, to be good to animals. It can be part of a really nice cycle in your own backyard.”

Other cities with ordinances allowing chickens include Evansville, Indianapolis and Bloomington.

In most cases, residents must obtain a permit, are only allowed up to a handful of chickens and the birds may not be kept for commercial purposes and must be confined to a coop and pen.

Those who oppose allowing backyard chickens in cities cite concerns over noise and health.

Schulte-Coman says chickens and hens are no louder than a dog, and as long as their living environment is clean there are no health problems.

“The problems actually arise when you have larger flocks, as in factory flocks,” she maintains. “There’s more disease among them, more health concerns. So having a backyard flock is really an answer to not having as many health issues.”

Schulte-Coman adds that people in many places of the country and the world raise chickens and hens and allowing them in communities is a step forward in taking better care of the earth.