Deerfield Township family has all the answers to your chicken questions
Patricia Glicksberg (right) and her daughter Robin, 16, tend to their chickens on Saturday. | Jon Durr~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 11, 2012 9:12AM
Tucked away in a not-so-secret location just outside Deerfield is a small flock of chickens that have already called their owners’ back yard home for years.
The four hens belong to Patricia and Scott Glicksberg, who live in unincorporated West Deerfield Township.
And the Glicksbergs don’t understand why Deerfield officials would even think twice about allowing residents to keep chickens.
The chicken issue came to trustees when Barbara and Jim Solheim, who live on the 600 block of Warwick Road, asked for permission to keep a few hens as pets.
Deerfield village code prohibits keeping chickens and most farm animals in general.
Trustees have discussed setting up a pilot project for one year to find out what issues might accompany the chickens. And the Solheims volunteered to participate in the project.
But Patricia Glicksberg wondered why trustees would bother when she can provide answers to any questions they might have after seven years of experience with chickens.
The Glicksbergs have two red rock and two leghorn chickens, chosen because they are sturdy, hardy and reliable layers, Patricia Glicksberg said.
They’ve had fancy chickens, too, but they didn’t produce many eggs and weren’t particularly nice, she added.
“We like to be outdoors, garden and like animals. In fact, we’ve had quite a menagerie over the years,” Patricia Glicksberg said. “The chickens kind of go hand-in-hand with using manure and composting, and growing our own vegetables.”
And the chickens have turned out to be the lowest maintenance animals the Glicksbergs have ever had. The birds eat everything from kitchen scraps to cicadas. They live in an 8-by-10 foot coupe surrounded by a 12-by-12 foot, six-sided dog run.
“We do have predators — even hawks — though we wrapped the run with chicken wire to keep them out. The worst was when we locked up the chickens and came back to find feathers all over. It looked like a homicide scene,” Patricia Glicksberg said.
“That’s when we learned we had wild minks around here, which can fit through chain link fences.”
The coupe must be kept clean and in the winter heated to about 45 degrees. No less than four chickens should be in a flock, so they can huddle for warmth.
If the chickens are happy, they will provide an egg a day. The Glicksbergs end up with so many eggs that they give them away.
“There is some entertainment value to giving the principal of your kids’ school fresh eggs instead of apples,” Patricia Glicksberg said.
Also entertaining is some of the reactions from people to whom they’ve offered eggs.
“My worst one was when someone asked if we had pasteurized the eggs,” Patricia Glicksberg said. “I said that is a cow thing. People find it hard to believe that you can just eat them. You don’t have to process them first.”
Patricia also has offered eggs to people who thought there was something wrong with the brown ones. They never heard of eggs being anything other than white, she noted.
“A lot of people are totally unaware that eggs come in different colors, like green and blue from Easter Egg chickens,” Patricia Glicksberg said.
However, the Glicksbergs not only say they have never had one complaint about their chickens, but also that their neighbors enjoy them.
Steve and Kate Welch, who live next door, said they can’t even tell the chickens are there.
“We don’t hear them. We don’t see them. We don’t smell them,” Kate Welch said. “But it is really nice to get fresh eggs over the fence.”