Monday, September 22, 2014


Lois Nafziger (far left) helps (from left) five year old Adria Brown, 9-year-old Brenna Brown, 4-year-old Jacinda Brown and 11-year-old Janae Brown at the Hens for Goshen exhibit in the Young MacDonald’s Farm area Thursday, July 19, at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. The four sisters are from Syracuse. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

One of the stars of the Hens for Goshen exhibit in the Young MacDonald’s Farm area is shown in this Friday, July 19, 2013 photograph. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Lois Nafziger helps Hunter Ambrosen of Jones, Mich., feel chickens in the Hens for Goshen exhibit at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Thursday, July 19. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)
Fresh-laid eggs from Goshen? Hens for Goshen visits the fair

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.