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No Chickens in My Backyard

Some Rapid City residents want the decision-makers in their city to follow the lead of Sioux Falls and a few other cities and allow them to keep chickens in their backyards.

The Rapid Citians want to be allowed to have up to six hens, and I can see their point. To a point.

I know, fresh eggs, something living in your yard besides a dog and the occasional squirrel or rabbit, I get it.

And I hope they’re allowed to. Good for them. Go for it.

But even though it’s allowed now in Sioux Falls, I can’t see having chickens myself.

You see, we had chickens on our farm when I was growing up in northern McCook County, sometimes close to 400 of them. They kept us in groceries, as we sold the eggs at a buying station that was more or less hooked onto the grocery store.

And as you might guess, chickens involve work, including washing them and packing them in cases–36 dozen to a case.

And I always thought chickens were filthy. You haven’t lived until you’ve cleaned out a chicken house in July or August. It’s hot, it’s dusty–except under the waterers, where it’s wet and really rank.

And did I mention we scooped the stuff–we bedded with ground corn cobs–and carried it to one end of the building or the other and threw it into a manure spreader?

And, of course, before my brother and I were able, my dad did that, too, along with everything else on the farm.

So none for me, thanks. If you want chickens in your back yard, good for you.

But I’ll always remember that after I left the farm for college, my parents got out of the chicken business. They also got a riding lawnmower, but that’s for another time.

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