Over the past two years, residents have embraced new hobbies and interests due to COVID-19 closures and stay-at-home mandates.
One of them, according to Cherie Sintes-Glover, raised chickens.
While the idea of Lodians raising chickens within city limits seems outlandish, Sintes-Glover said it’s more than likely that everyone has at least one neighbor raising poultry on their property.
“During COVID, people thought if they were home, they might as well try something new, maybe start a garden and raise a few chickens for eggs,” Sintes-Glover said. “But they have an added benefit, which is being able to watch ‘chicken TV’ from their own backyard. And that has given them another opportunity to socialize online about their new hobby.
Municipal code in the city of Lodi allows residents to keep up to five chickens in backyard pens, as long as feed is properly stored and sanitary conditions are maintained.
Since the city’s chicken ordinance was updated in 2015, Sintes-Glover said co-op sales have increased and it’s been hard to find chicks in grocery stores.
Urban chicken consultant, poultry health inspector and veteran 4-H chef for more than 20 years, Sintes-Glover is now giving Lodians the opportunity to learn how to properly care for chickens with a course offered by the city parks, recreation and culture. Services.
She will be teaching Backyard Chicken Keeping 101 on June 14 and 21 at Hutchins Street Square from 6:30-8 p.m.
The course is designed for those considering raising their own backyard chickens or those wanting a refresher on the basics.
Students learn everything there is to know in the first year of raising chickens, from choosing chicks and setting up a brooder to moving into the big chicken coop and laying the very first ones eggs.
A Backyard Chicken Keeping 102 course will be offered July 12 and 19 and will cover common chicken foods as well as how to recognize health issues in a flock.
From what to keep in your home poultry first aid kit to keeping your chickens cool in the deadly summer heat, the course will cover all the common myths and the best practice.
“It’s my favorite class because we get past all the misinformation you often find online,” she said. “Social media can be helpful, but you want to know why and how to effectively treat your chickens.”
Although raising chickens doesn’t sound too complicated, Sintes-Glover said it’s important to learn the basics and be familiar with what you might need.
If you want the best eggs possible, she recommends feeding the chickens a good quality ration and making sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water, especially in the summer months.
“People often think that scratch corn will be enough, but that’s not the case when you look at what chickens need nutritionally,” she said. “And scratches should never be given to chickens during the summer months when temperatures exceed 90 degrees.”
Indeed, chickens have a higher normal body temperature, she said, and feeding them corn and other treats can raise their body temperature to dangerous levels. Heat stress is a common problem in the valley, where days can reach over 110 degrees.
“Chickens can handle the colder months once they’re fully feathered, just like any wild bird,” she said. “But bring in our hot summers and that’s when we need to take some precautions to help them regulate their body heat and stay cool.”
Sintes-Glover has taught dozens of classes on raising backyard chickens in a variety of venues and has been a frequent guest on KSTE/KFBK radio’s popular gardening show “Get Growing” with Fred Hoffman.
She also provides one-on-one consultations to chicken owners who need a helping hand with everything from barn location to assessing health issues in their flocks.
Sintes-Glover said fresh eggs aren’t the only benefit of keeping chickens in a backyard.
These egg producers also eat insects and pests in the yard and garden while providing hours of entertainment for their owners.
And with the cost of food skyrocketing, including eggs, she expects to see more people explore the idea of raising backyard chickens if they haven’t already taken the plunge. .
“Raising chickens can have initial start-up costs, but since chickens lay an average of 475 eggs in their lifetime, it’s often worth the investment,” she said. “And nothing beats a garden-fresh egg for breakfast.”