Elgin gets first chicks as part of pilot program

  • Pete Mangan and his wife, Katie, are the first Elgin residents to officially to get chickens as part of a pilot program started Monday. Their 4-day-old chicks are kept under a heat lamp in a box in their basement.

      Pete Mangan and his wife, Katie, are the first Elgin residents to officially to get chickens as part of a pilot program started Monday. Their 4-day-old chicks are kept under a heat lamp in a box in their basement. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Peter Mangan and his wife, Katie, have 4-day-old chicks at their home in Elgin.

      Peter Mangan and his wife, Katie, have 4-day-old chicks at their home in Elgin. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Peter Mangan and his wife, Katie, picked up 4-day-old chicks Monday from a hatchery in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

      Peter Mangan and his wife, Katie, picked up 4-day-old chicks Monday from a hatchery in Waterloo, Wisconsin. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/10/2015 6:05 AM

Elgin's first official resident chicks are just as you'd expect -- fluffy, chirpy and entirely adorable.

Pete and Katie Mangan drove to a hatchery in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Monday morning to get the 4-day-old chicks, which seemed to be no worse for the wear that afternoon after enduring the 111-mile trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Their new home is a wooden box lined with pine chips under a heat lamp in the Mangans' basement. They will move into a chicken coop in the backyard once the weather is warmer, Pete Mangan said.

Having chickens just seemed like a fun thing to do, he said. "And, yeah, we'll have eggs," he added.

Mangan was among three residents who received the first permits for backyard chickens after the city started a one-year pilot program this year, Elgin senior management analyst Aaron Cosentino said. The programs allow up to 15 residents to keep up to four hens -- no roosters -- in coops in the backyards of single-family homes.

The city received 17 applications in January but one person dropped out and another submitted duplicate paperwork, Cosentino said. That left 15 people, so no lottery was needed, he said. Residents can build a coop after they get a permit, and then have to go through a final inspection, he said.

Mangan said he did a lot of research on chickens at the library. "Chickens are omnivores. I didn't know that," he said.

The Mangans picked a traditionally yellow Buff Orpington chick, an Ameraucana or "Easter Egger" chick that lays pink and blue eggs, a Black Australorp chick and a Barred Rock chick. Each cost less than $3.

Resident Christina Aagesen, who set the process in motion by advocating for backyard chickens to the city's sustainability commission last year, said she held a meeting at her house for prospective chicken owners last month.

The goal was to share tips and knowledge in order to ensure the pilot program's success, she said.

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