By Elise Oberliesen

It’s that time of year when feed stores like J&T Feeds, in Greeley display their oh so fuzzy and adorable baby chicks. Be forewarned if your kiddos tag along on the next shopping trip – you just may end up loading the vehicle with a crate full of chicks. Not to mention blueprints for a hen house. It nearly happened to my friend in Brighton.

Before you make any rash decisions about raising backyard chickens, always check local ordinances to determine whether chicken keeping is allowed in your area. If you have a fondness for roosters, just know they’re not welcomed creatures in many towns.

Wondering how to build a chicken coup? Larimer County Planning Department is good resource to learn about permits and state regulations since the rules vary widely. The Humane Society is another valuable resource.

“People who live in City of Fort Collins and Loveland can contact Larimer Humane Society Animal Protection and Control for questions about raising urban chickens,” said Rigo Neira, director of animal protection and control with Larimer Humane Society.

Part of the permitting is designed to keep predators like fox and hawks out of chicken enclosures, he said. A proper enclosure not only protects your flock but also keeps them covered.

J&T Feed carries many of the supplies needed to keep your chickens happy. Knowledgeable staff can help answer questions you have and steer you away from common pitfalls.

Experienced in keeping chickens, staff associate Teri Segelke with J&T Feed said constant handwashing before and after handling chickens is crucial. That’s because infected chickens can transmit salmonella to your family – and you can also transmit diseases to them, she said.

Another tip is to keep tabs on your outdoor footwear. Chicken droppings are highly toxic and you don’t want to track it through your home.

> J&T Feeds, 4835 West 10th St., Greeley, 970.378.0240,