Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Guest Contributor0
5 Reasons for City Chickens
Poultry in urban areas is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. The keeping and caring of chickens allows us to individually, and collectively, provide for our own food and, in some cases, pets and entertainment. Here are five reasons why keeping chickens is a good idea:
- Eggs. A protein source produced right on your homestead that is not beans. Here’s a quick simple recipe for perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs.
- Entertainment. Chickens can be entertaining, in a way a cat or dog, goldfish or reptile is not. Chicken jokes and imitations may have even the most dour neighbor laughing at you if not with you! I think this little fluffball of love is just the cutest!
- Food Security. All joking aside, chickens can provide both eggs and meat during times of difficulties.
- Insect control. Chickens are a natural predator for many insects. By creating a “chicken moat” around your garden you may be able to stop most insect pests from eating your tasty veggies before you do without using chemicals or sprays of any type.
- Fertilizer. Chicken manure is extremely high in nitrogen, with it being best added to your existing compost pile. If you time the cleaning out of your chicken coop with the seasons, it’s possible for the manure to increase temps for cold season areas, such as being added in the autumn or earlier in spring to keep or jumpstart warmer temperatures in your compost bin.
To find out whether or not it’s legal to have feathered friends in your backyard, check out this Laws and Ordinances list from Backyard Chickens. If chickens are not allowed, Grist has a good article about how to make chicken keeping legal! Many cities have been hesitant to allow the various forms of urban agriculture that exist, chicken care and keeping being one of them. Although it seems that keeping a few hens is simple, you may be surprised at the legalities that prevent you from doing so. Also, be mindful that keeping chickens is a commitment, and there are some downsides to taking on this responsibility.
Whatever your reasons to wish to keep urban chickens, be aware of the rules and regulations where you live. And if you want to have a chicken flock and it is not allowed there are some steps you can take to make this a political reality. Next week I will write about the issues to take into consideration when beginning to organize your thoughts, and maybe your friends and neighbors, to allow for city chickens. Check back next week and we’ll also talk about the health risks, sound or noise ordinances, how chickens look, water pollution, fees and registrations, and local food security associated with keeping chickens in your yard.
Chicken image and chick image from Shutterstock