Fresh-laid eggs from Goshen? Hens for Goshen visits the fair

If you wondered about the push to allow people to keep hens at their homes in Goshen, weekend days at this year's fair offer a chance to talk to the people promoting the idea and to see hens in their houses first-hand.

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 19, 2013 at 6:24 p.m.

GOSHEN — The 4-H Poultry Barn isn’t the only place to see hens and people who like them this year at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Hens for Goshen, a group pushing for a chance in city ordinances to allow people to keep hens in their yards, has a booth in the youth ag area of the fairgrounds farmstead, where people can not only discuss the idea, they can see it in action during weekend days at this year’s fair.

That’s because they are right next to a display of poultry enclosures complete with birds, showing exactly the type of situation Hens for Goshen members want to see allowed in the Maple City.

“We’ll try to educate people, how people think about smells and disease,” said John Nafziger, one of the members of the group.

“If people grew up in the country, they might know about barns with a thousand chickens in it. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking four to six hens,” he said. “If they grew up in town, they may think chickens belong only on the farm.”

The group wants only hens, no roosters, so there’s no crowing. “Hens are actually quieter than dogs,” he said.

The idea is to allow people to have fresh, home-grown eggs. “I talked to one man who said, ‘If you don’t have roosters, you won’t have eggs, will you?’ I told him they won’t hatch, but we’ll have eggs,” Nafziger said.

The group has talked with city council members and plans to bring a proposed change to the ordinance. “Probably sometime in the next couple of months we’ll bring it to the council,” Nafziger said.

In the meantime, they’ll be glad to talk about it both Fridays and both Saturdays of the fair as well as Sunday.


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