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Chicken school draws home-raised egg enthusiasts to Myriad Gardens

The Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City hosted a primer on how to raise backyard chickens last week, and the event drew about 40 people.
by Matt Patterson Modified: March 18, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: March 17, 2014

WHEN it comes to what she eats, Sara Braden just wants to know where her food comes from.

Braden is one of about 40 people who attended a lecture on the basics of caring for chickens by national expert Rosalind Creasy at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Creasy has written 18 books on edible landscaping and the benefits of knowing the origins of your food.

That’s why Braden and her husband started growing much of their own food in their Oklahoma City backyard. The idea of raising chickens for eggs is a natural progression.

“It’s really good to know where your food comes from,” she said. “I eat more vegetables than I ever did before, and my kids eat better, too, but it’s hard to raise protein in a garden, so this is something we were interested in.”

The “chicken school” at the Myriad Gardens drew people from all walks of life, something Creasy has seen in her travels.

“When I started 20 years ago, nobody had chickens,” she said. “And then Martha Stewart started making a big to-do. I think some of the trend is because of the local food movement and people wanting to get more in touch with their food.”

Proposed ordinance

The Oklahoma City Planning Commission is set to review a proposal to relax the rules on backyard chickens later this month. Under the proposal, residents who pay $25 could apply to keep chickens.

Neighbors would be notified and given the chance to comment. A previous proposal allowing residents to keep up to six hens failed to get the necessary support from the city council.

Current ordinances limit chickens to lots of at least one acre.

Oklahoma City resident James Pickel said he plans on raising chickens for their eggs.

“We’ve read books about it, and we’ve built a coop, but it’s empty,” he said.

“We figured we should probably learn a little more.”

Pickel said the quality of the eggs is one reason why he wanted to explore the idea.

“I think fresh eggs and knowing where they come from is kind of interesting,” he said. “And it’s also a little bit of the social aspect of being able to share them with friends.”

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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