When most people think of chickens, they think of chicken nuggets, chicken legs, or fried chicken, but here at Bettendorf High School, chickens are more than food to some students.
Tabitha Belcher, a junior, has a pet Bantam Silkie chicken named Ginger. Ginger is just like any other chicken, except she lives in the house.
“My mom has always wanted to live on a farm but we can’t, so we got a pet chicken,” Belcher said.
Belcher and her family have had chickens before. The family had three roosters and one hen but they had to get rid of them due to stress caused by one another and their loud squawks.
The Belchers also have four cats and one dog. All of the animals get along great with Ginger. The chicken is over a year old but still quite small. The average female Bantam Silkie weighs only 32 ounces.
“Ginger likes me the best, I put her in my sweatshirt and she falls asleep, but she mostly recognizes my step dad because she starts to “bawk” when he comes around because he is loud,” Belcher said.
Ginger is kept in a small gated in area and eats a diet of grain and meal worms. She lays eggs that are little but the Belchers harvest and cook them when they have enough.
Another student has 17 chickens. Senior Keaton Westerkamp lives on a farm and thought it would be interesting to have chickens.
“I couldn’t get a dog so I thought that it would be fun to have some chickens. I paid for them all myself,” Westerkamp said.
Westerkamp has had his chickens for a year and a half. His chickens are all full grown, and he has one rooster and the rest are hens. He has Light Brahma chickens who weigh about seven pounds.
Westerkamp collects and sells their eggs.
“I sell their eggs to people in town which is a cool aspect of having chickens. I wash them all to get them ready to sell,” Westerkamp said.
Unlike Belcher, Westerkamp’s chickens live in a large chicken coop and fenced in area outside.
Everyone has their own idea of a good pet, and for Belcher and Westerkamp, chickens are the way to go.