CANTON — A Pine Street resident’s summer project will come to fruition in March after weeks of planning and preparation. While most 12-year-olds don’t need village board permission to chase their desires, Gabriella Schuckers impressed local officials with her plan on Monday and was granted approval to keep chickens in her backyard.
“It was very well done, very well-presented. I think she was prepared and I think the board was just thrilled to have a young lady come to us with everything all buttoned up,” Mayor Michael E. Dalton said. “She did a great job with it. She answered questions when they were asked and I was very pleased.”
Gabriella has been working hard this summer to ensure she was prepared to present her idea to village board members. She said she has wanted chickens ever since her first experience with the birds.
“When I was younger I went to day care and they had chickens and I would always pick them up and carry them around,” she said. “I wanted something to carry around like I did then.”
The first step for Gabriella was convincing her parents.
“We were somewhat resistant to the idea and then I said ‘well, you’re old enough. If you’d like to pay for everything up front and be fully responsible for the health and safety and sanitary nature as well as the permitting process, we would be OK with it,’” said Stephanie Schuckers, Gabriella’s mother. “We thought it would be a good learning experience.”
With her parents’ permission, Gabriella set out to learn more about raising hens and to make sure she covered all her bases before meeting with the village board.
“I researched a lot of different stuff. We have a lot of people we know that have chickens so we asked them a lot of questions,” she said.
“In our code, you are allowed to have chickens in your yard. No roosters, just hens,” Mr. Dalton explained. “There is a procedure for doing that and basically, it involves permission from your neighbors.”
Getting permission from the neighbors was no problem for Gabriella.
“Most people were happy,” she said.
Gabriella plans to have a mobile coop that will house five Ameraucana chickens, she said. She wanted this specific breed because she finds their eggs interesting.
“They will have blue and green eggs,” she said with a smile.
Gabriella anticipates having to feed her flock twice per day, making sure they always have fresh water and cleaning the coop on a weekly basis. The mobile chicken coop will be moved around the backyard each week throughout the warmer months.
“In the winter, it will be behind our garage so that it will have protection on three sides from the wind,” she explained.
Gabriella admitted she was initially nervous about having to speak to village trustees.
“I was a little intimidated before because I thought it was in the courtroom, but then when I went to the place I knew some of the people and everyone was smiling and happy and I thought it was pretty easy speaking before them,” she said.
Gabriella’s work may even net her some profits.
“Since I am paying for everything, I will probably sell (the eggs) to my parents and I might sell them to my neighbors if we have too many,” she said.
Mr. Dalton said he was happy to see a young member of the community take such initiative to work independently and learn more about local government processes.
“She came and sat in our meeting and saw how things run at a village meeting,” he said. “I think a lot of this for her is educational. Our board was completely supportive.”