The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 3, 2013

VIDEO: Baby chickens popular with families wanting to produce own eggs

JOPLIN, Mo. — Starting now and for about the next 10 weeks, thousands of baby chicks will arrive at local farm and feed stores. Many will leave to start or replenish flocks.

That’s nothing new, since the region always has been an agricultural hub, but what is growing is interest from city dwellers and suburban “farmers” who raise their own chickens and eggs to keep costs down and maintain control over what goes on their dinner tables.

“We’re seeing it more and more,” said Steve Doran, manager of Atwoods Farm and Home in Webb City, which received a load of chicks last week. “A lot more people are doing that, and growing fruit trees, too, so they can decide what kind of food and pesticides they want to use. And then they can and freeze what they grow.”

Saving money

Saving money was the first goal for Angela Lewis, of Pittsburg, Kan., when she and her family started raising chickens two years ago.

“It started with using coupons, which saved a lot, then we planted a really big garden,” she said. “Then we decided it would be fun to raise chickens.”

Lewis said her husband, Mike, built her a chicken coop as a Mother’s Day gift.

Today, their four children enjoy caring for the chickens and gathering the eggs.

Lewis said her original flock of 11 birds included several noisy roosters.

“I liked them, but I’m not sure the neighbors did,” she added.

The flock has dwindled to four hens. Lewis said she plans to buy more chicks this spring.

“You have to keep the chicks in tubs in the garage, because they have to be kept really warm. It will take nine months before they start laying eggs, so it will be the fall. But it’s exciting when that happens,” she said.

Joe and Dana Abromovitz, of Wentworth, bought a dozen chicks at Atwoods on Thursday.

Joe said the couple have had their own small flock of chickens for years and started it to save money on their grocery bill. The couple’s three children help care for the chickens, added Dana.

“They love it,” she said.

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