CANYON COUNTY — Who cares which came first? Chickens, and the eggs they produce, have clucked their way into local backyards and hearts.

Plenty of people in Canyon County keep chickens in suburban settings. They treat them like pets, give them names and enjoy their fresh eggs.

“They’re my girls,” Lonalee Hoogland of Caldwell said about her five backyard feathered friends.

Hoogland recently testified before the Caldwell City Council in support of a new city ordinance that allows residents to keep up to 10 chickens as pets on city residential lots. The ordinance was passed after the city got several calls from people concerned about the old the law that required one-acre lots to keep farm animals.

“The last three years it’s become extremely popular,” Zamzow’s Nampa store assistant manager Mike Stanton said about backyard chickens. More than 100 people showed up for his store’s backyard chicken classes earlier this year. Zamzows sells chicks in the spring.

Chicken owners say nothing beats eggs right from the chicken coop.

“I like having fresh farm eggs,” Nampa chicken owner Kristin Williams said about her young hens Bonnie, Cotton and Gwinn, who will begin laying soon. “And I just like chickens. They each have their own personality.”

By the way, roosters aren’t allowed in most cities, just in case the neighbors want to sleep in past 4 a.m.

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