Today, my kids and I visited Joe in Rolling Meadows to check out his backyard hen set up. My kids were so excited to visit, and I think Joe was equally excited. He loves his hens and is a wealth of information, as was his wife.
He has an adorable barn-style coop that he built himself from scratch. It was very well made and the hens had plenty of room. Because he doesn't have a fenced yard, he had a free-range enclosure set up as well that allows the hens to stretch their legs a bit more. He even created a cover on the top of the enclosure as an extra precautionary measure to protect the hens from predators. Joe kindly brought out some cucumber treats for the hens to snack on. Even my 2 year old who is incredibly fearful of geese quickly realized how lovely his birds were, and not one tear was shed as she followed the lead of the older two offering the hens some treats!
Clearly, Joe has a soft spot for children just as he does for his hens. He told them everything they should know about hen keeping, and they listened with open eyes and ears. The very first thing my 5 year old said to my husband when he got home was that he met Joe and chickens today!
Joe told us how grateful he was to have had the hens at the beginning of the pandemic; that his grandchildren would come to visit to help care for them. He said it was an incredible learning experience for them and that his granddaughter had even brought one of the hens to virtual show and tell!
I was equally amazed by their beautiful garden that had a variety of beans, peas, and even cucamelons he gave to the kids to taste. I learned something new today as Joe and his wife informed us that their yard is a "Conservation at Home" certified yard. They have a wide variety of plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. It is truly amazing what they have accomplished on their land that's just over 1/4 an acre.
There's something to be said for being the first, and paving the way for others to follow. Joe and his wife are stellar examples of what we can do with our land here in the suburbs; modeling that it is worth much more than a lawn to be mowed and space that we own. And of course, Joe sent us home with some fresh eggs! Thank you Joe for letting us visit today!
Live in Palatine? Please sign our petition to bring backyard hens to our community.