As far as Shawn Fiegelist is concerned, the chickens came first; the eggs should be along shortly.

As far as Shawn Fiegelist is concerned, the chickens came first; the eggs should be along shortly.

Putting into practice what she preaches, the owner of City Folk's Farm Shop in Clintonville went in with neighbors to invest in four chicks that hatched April 22 and are now full-grown chickens.

"I've been interested in having chickens for a couple of years, and it would have happened sooner had I not opened the shop," Fiegelist said recently.

The store at 4760 N. High St. sells tools for "urban homesteading" such as gardening supplies and feed for animals. It opened about a year and a half ago.

Fiegelist and her husband, Gerald, took the plunge in partnership with next-door neighbors. The Fiegelists' yard was better able to accommodate the chicken coop in what Shawn Fiegelist described as "co-keeping."

She said she's glad the chickens came from a hatchery.

"They're a lot of fun," she said. "You do have to deal with them every day, so there's a time commitment."

That's why "co-keeping" has worked out so well, she added, because it allows one family or the other to be away for a few days without worrying about the backyard fowl.

Fiegelist created a Facebook page, Columbus City Chickens, which early this week had 118 members.

The page is designed for anyone interested in raising urban chickens, from the experienced to those just beginning the process.

Other local organizations have formed to provide assistance to people raising chickens for fun, eggs or both.

The Columbus Backyard Poultry Meetup Group is for people who have small backyard flocks of chickens for pets, eggs and meat, according to that group's website.

"You just might be surprised at how many people living in your neighborhood have pet chickens," the site states. "There is nothing quite like walking outside in the morning to gather fresh organic eggs for your breakfast."

Fiegelist, whose own small flock should begin laying eggs soon, couldn't agree more.

"There's a world of difference between a fresh egg and a grocery-store egg," she said. "The yolks are very yellow and the whites are much more clear. The ones you have in your backyard, you know how fresh they are."

Fiegelist said the chickens she and the neighbors raise are all different breeds, and each of the hens has a different personality.

"So it's easy for me to know who's who ... " she added "There's definitely a pecking order. There is a boss.

"There is one on the bottom of the pecking order that gets pushed around a lot. There's a No. 2 who wants to be in control. They definitely interact with you. They're friendly. Some are more friendly than others.

"They're like people."