U of I Extension to Host Educator on Raising Chickens

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BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- It doesn’t get much better than frying up a couple of farm-fresh eggs that you just collected yourself. Maybe that is why so many people, whether they are on a rural acreage or an urban homestead, are becoming increasingly interested in raising chickens in their backyards.

“Whether motivated by extremely local food, or simply having a showy pet to decorate the yard, there are a number of things you need to know about raising chickens so that your family and your birds can live happy and healthy together,” says Andy Larson, a new Local Foods Systems and Small Farms Educator with University of Illinois Extension.

Andy Larson recently joined University of Illinois Extension serving Boone, DeKalb and Ogle counties. While new to the position, Andy is no stranger to poultry farming, or the Extension program. Andy has been working in agriculture with Extension in both Iowa and Illinois since 2004, with programs on planning, growing, and marketing for small, alternative, and diversified agriculture enterprises.

Andy and his young family have returned to the family farm in northern Illinois, where he is helping his wife and kids add to the family business with a poultry enterprise. It is this experience that has led him to record a series of informational videos for Extension about raising backyard poultry, which are in post-production and will be released on YouTube in the coming weeks.

Relatedly, Andy will be offering a class on home-scale poultry production called Raising Backyard Chickens Right to be held on Wednesday, July 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm. at the Boone County Extension Conference Room located at 205 Cadillac Court, Suite 5 in Belvidere.

Participants will discuss:
• Choosing chicken breeds and starting your chicks
• Considerations for building a coop and designing a chicken run
• Overcoming winter weather and pressure from predators
• Handling and selling eggs in Illinois safely and legally

The program fee is $5, payable in advance or at the door. Pre-registration is preferred to ensure adequate space and materials. To register or for more information on Raising Backyard Chickens Right, contact University of Illinois Extension office at 815-544-3710 or visit our website at web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo or email Extension program coordinator, Judy Hodge at hodg@illinois.edu.
If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Boone County Extension office at 815-544-3710.

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