Fowl Play

Julie Baker is part of the retro raising of backyard chickens

Julie Baker, who runs the Best of NH award-winning Pampered Poultry.

Photo courtesy of Pampered Poultry

Win-win - that's how Julie Baker views raising chickens. Not only do you get fresh-as-they-get eggs, you also get to look at the chickens "looking beautiful" in your back yard. And all it takes, she says, is "a little land and food."

Her land is a five-acre farm in Chester. There, she and her 14-year-old home-schooled daughter Bridget breed and raise 75 or so chickens. There are also 12 Nigerian dwarf goats, three emus, two ponies, two ferrets and a bunch of geese and rabbits - what Baker calls "an ever-changing menagerie of spoiled animals."

But her chickens are the most spoiled, especially those that she and her daughter take to poultry shows. "We wash the chickens for the show," she says. "We make sure the feathers are in nice order. We want them clean and shiny."

Keeping chickens clean and shiny is another part of Baker's business. Online at, she sells chicken diapers (for dress up, travel or when they have to be brought inside) and chicken saddles (to protect the hen's feathers from the roosters). The latter are made by women in the Dominican Republic.

And - with a variety of farm animals worthy of Old MacDonald - Baker's farm is perfect for children's birthday parties, which she is now offering.

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