Turn Your Backyard Into an Egg Farm

Many people in the Inland Empire are stretching their dollars by eating fresh eggs from hens kept in their backyards

When the economy goes bad, it's often a challenge for families to become more creative when making their dollars stretch.

For some families in the Inland Empire, they are eating farm-fresh eggs every morning, without the farm, thanks to hens they keep in their yards.

For nearly two decades, Celeste Tittle has been selling show poultry and farm-fresh eggs.

Once a computer engineer for the aerospace industry, Tittle traded her stressful career for farm life. Even though she admits her small coops can't compete with big egg producers.

"It's hard to compete," said Celeste Tittle of the Ham & Eggs Ranch, "but you win hands-down with the quality of food and the fun you get from taking care of them."

Chicken "hobbyists" will tell you their feathered friends are like dogs, smart, loyal but often a lot of work.

Still, a word to the wise: Chickens can often fall ill to a variety of diseases, and vet bills can often be expensive.

Some neighborhoods allow chickens, geese and horses. Some do not.

Riverside and Redlands require a lot specifically zoned to allow farm-type animals. The typical residential lot probably would not meet the requirements, the Press-Enterprise reported.

In Temecula, residents are required to have a half-acre to keep even a single hen.

In the unincorporated areas of Riverside County, residents need at least a 7,200-square-foot lot, zoning that allows fowl and enough space to keep the hens at least 50 feet from any residence, said Code Enforcement Officer Jose Cruz. Similar rules apply in unincorporated San Bernardino County, according to the Press Enterprise.

But many say the special care and upkeep of these hens is well worth it, especially in these tough, economic times.

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