By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Now that it's legal for most residents to raise hens in their backyards, they might want to hear from someone who knows a thing or two about poultry.
David Valentine, owner of Valentine & Sons Seed Co. and Heritage Poultry, will explain the basics of raising heritage poultry in the backyard tonight at 7 in the Stevens Memorial Library. His presentation is part of the library’s Thursday Nights series of speakers, authors and entertainers.
Town Meeting voted May 21 to allow residents to keep up to six hens in their backyards. Previously, only those owning at least 3 acres could raise chickens.
Valentine's 90-minute program will provide information about many aspects of raising poultry in the backyard, including rearing chicks, flock management, coop design and basic medical issues. Valentine frequently provides consultation and how-to seminars to museums and backyard poultry owners throughout New England.
Started in 2007, Valentine & Sons is located in Mont Vernon, N.H., and is dedicated to preserving history through traditional plants and foods.
Heritage poultry is a relatively modern term. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy defines a heritage chicken as one that is from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association prior to the mid-20th century, whose genetic line can be traced back multiple generations, and with traits that meet the association's standard of perfection guidelines.
Thursday Nights is a series of special visitors to the library as part of Summer at the Stevens. The Thursday Nights series will run through Aug. 15.
All Summer at the Stevens events are free thanks to the Friends of the Stevens Memorial Library, the trustees of the Stevens Memorial Library, and the North Andover Cultural Council.
The Stevens Memorial Library is located at 345 Main St. The library’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed Saturdays and Sundays. For more information about the library or Summer at the Stevens, visit the library or its website, www.StevensMemLib.org, or call 978-688-9505, ext. 42016. Movie titles and show times are available on the Stevens Events Line: 978-688-9508.