I had the pleasure of showcasing some of our Murray McMurray Hatchery chickens and speaking at this past weekend’s Siouxland Garden Show in Sioux City, Iowa. This was our first time to the show so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. As I pulled into town with the snow flurrying around me, I welcomed the idea of an inside garden for the weekend. I wanted to fast forward into the heart of spring and as I stepped into the doors of the show, it seemed like I did.
Rain barrels, perennials, ferns, honey, decorative patio blocks, worm castings, aquaponics – just a few of the topics covered at the show. Oh yeah, and now, CHICKENS!
Chickens were the buzz at the show (sorry bees) as Sioux City recently passed an ordinance to allow four hens in the city limits. Another small victory for the chicken owner world was worth celebrating. Many visitors had heard of Murray McMurray Hatchery and I had the pleasure of meeting several generational customers, which is always neat for me personally. I love hearing stories of how the customer I talk with remembers ordering chicks from our catalog with his grandfather and now he was ordering chicks from us with his grandson.
At tradeshows, I talk to a variety of people with various levels of experience in owning chickens. One of the best experiences is seeing a child come over to our booth and put eyes on a real live chicken for the first time. Their eyes get big and after the initial pause of astonishment, the smile grows and grows across their face. After a quick acknowledgement from their parents, I put a newly hatched chick in their hand, stand back and just watch. The reactions are priceless, the hand sanitizer close by. And if it wasn’t enough to see the kids’ reactions, the same happens to several of the adults as well. Some adults are seeing and holding a baby chicken for the first time in their lives and it is really amazing to watch.
For three days I answer chicken questions, listen to chicken ownership stories, offer some advice on how to do this and that and meet some wonderful people. During my talk on Sunday I gave an overview of what it is involved in owning chickens. I talked about feed, water, coops, benefits of fresh eggs and much more. With a few hours remaining, the show was over. The displays came down, the people left and my drove home began. As I exited Sioux City, I couldn’t help but wonder what has begun in the community.
With the volunteers and staff of the Siouxland Garden Show, the city is well poised to learn and grow about gardening, chickens and so much more. The seeds they continue to plant in the community will be a harvest for many to enjoy.