Rotterdam's roost

Santabarbara shares his experience with pet chickens on the Schenectady Today Show

Angelo Santabarbara appears on the Schenectady Today Show.

Angelo Santabarbara appears on the Schenectady Today Show. Photo by John Purcell.

— Two chickens were the stars of the public access television program The Schenectady Today Show on Tuesday, July 19.

County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, and his daughter Marianna, 7, brought two of their pet chickens to Schenectady Today, which is hosted by Ann Parillo. On the show Santabarbara talked about the proper care of chickens and explained how he came to acquire his flock. Living in an agriculture-zoned area in Rotterdam allows Santabarbara to have the chickens without conflicted town code. For three years he has raised chickens and he now has a total of 12 chickens, which include eight Road Island Reds and four Plymouth Rocks.

“I did a lot of research on the chickens and I thought it was a pretty neat pet and my kids were kind of interested in it,” said Santabarbara. “I was thinking, ‘All right, I’ve got to go to a farm,’ because it is not really typically that you go around buying chickens from people.”

After searching online he found a website selling day old chickens through mail order, www.mypetchicken.com, and he decided to purchase a few and try out the different pet. He chose the two breeds because they were said to be a more hearty bird. The chickens come in a little box with holes and he said the shells were still in the box. The road island reds are also a good egg layer.

One odd thing he found out was when the chickens are little you have to be careful with the water served to them.

“(Little chicks) tend to just stand there and fall asleep,” said Santabarbara. “From what I understand and what other people have explained to me, they will just fall into the water and some of them drown.”

He decided not to free range his chickens and built a triangle shaped coop to hold the chickens. To not disturb any neighbors, or his own family, he decided against getting a rooster, which possibly makes noise all throughout the day. He also said roosters tend to be more aggressive and he didn’t want it around his children.

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