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Man Tells Tale Of Learning To Raise His Own Chickens In Wilton

Bil Mikulewicz holds a one-week old chick. He will speak in Wilton on Thursday on raising backyard chickens. Photo Credit: Contributed
Bil Mikulewicz will speak in Wilton on Thursday on raising backyard chickens. Photo Credit: Contributed

WILTON, Conn. -- A Ridgefield man decided he would raise his own chickens after his wife announced a few years ago that she wanted to move from Manhattan back to Connecticut.

"I told her, 'If you want me to leave civilization, I am going to raise chickens,' " Bill Mikulewicz said with a laugh about his spur-of-the-moment comment to wife, Sara Schrager. 

Mikulewicz, who was born and raised in Queens, N.Y., will demystify the project in his talk, “Backyard Chickens or One Man's Journey With A Bunch Of Dumb Clucks” on Thursday at  7 p.m. at the Cannon Grange Hall, 25 Cannon Road, Wilton. 

Admission is free. Parking is available in the Grange lot and across the street at the Cannondale railroad station and village.

The Ridgefield resident attributes part of his interest in raising chickens to collecting eggs as a young boy in the backyard of his grandfather's home in Queens in the post-Second World War era.

"They were terrifying," he joked about the chickens that would squaw at him as he carried out his duties.

Mikulewicz will share his knowledge about keeping hens, provide insights on raising chickens and offer guidance on selecting breeds, ordering, housing and feeding as well as spending do's and don’ts when it comes to your own flock.

One of the do's is to ensure you have at least three chickens, he said.

Anything less and "they get lonely and psychotic," Mikulewicz said. Chickens, he said, are very social creatures with one another and show empathy with one another.

Although a hen can expect to lay as many as 200 eggs per year, he said he gets less than that. And raising your own chickens is not really a good way to save money, he said.

"It's like the $60 tomato," he joked about the cost of having a backyard garden. 

The trade-off, though, he said, is great-tasting eggs for relatively little effort.

"I might spend 10 minutes per day on them, checking on their water and their feed," Mikulewicz said.

Although chickens aren't as lovable as dogs and cats, he calls them fascinating creatures that are always interesting.

This program is sponsored by the Cannon Grange No. 152 in Wilton. and The Discovery Center at Ridgefield.

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