So You Wanna Raise Urban Chickens. Believe it or not, this is coming up more and more often when Buyers give their Realtors their list of search criteria. As it just so happens, I raise urban chickens. For 9 months now. So I would like to offer some common sense advice on How To Raise Urban Chickens and still be on speaking terms with your neighbors.
- Research, research, research. If you've never stepped foot out of the city, do not bring chickens home without doing a lot of research. Read everything you can get your hands on. Start with www.BackyardChickens.com. If you read, read, read and are still interested, then proceed ... slowly.
- Call your local health department and zoning commission to see if you are ALLOWED to have urban chickens. If you are told NO, don't despair. My daughter-in-law is successfully helping to change local law in her area of Florida, so that she can have a small flock within city limits. It's not that hard usually.
- Decide how many chickens you want, can afford, and have space for.
- Start building your coop BEFORE you bring chickens home. What you THINK will take a weekend or so to build, will most likely take a month or so to build. Been there, done that.
- Decide what breeds are best suited to your area and your lifestyle. What breeds, you say? Well, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of breeds, and still more varieties within those breeds. Mind-boggling, actually. Start with breeds that can tolerate heat, cold, or both, depending on where you live.
- Create a budget, to make sure you can actually afford the ongoing cost of feed and upkeep.
- Roosters are noisy. Most municipalities have noise restrictions, thus roosters are usually a no-no.
- Chicken poop is, well, poopy. And poop usually smells. However, if you do it right, your chicken poop will turn into compost with very little time, money, or effort and your garden and flowers will love you for it. And it will be virtually smell-free during the interim. It's called the Deep Litter Method. (Refer back to #1 - research, research, research.)
- Talk with your neighbors and see how they feel about your proposed new hobby. Don't be shy. More than likely if you educate them properly, they will not put up a fuss. (I thought I would have to bribe mine with fresh eggs, but I think they like my chickens more than I do!)
- Prepare yourself for the fact that raising chickens is not all fun and games. There is a lot of death involved. Chickens up and die for no apparent reason. One day they're fine, the next day they are dead as a doornail. Predators you have never seen before will become murderous around poultry and it is not a pretty sight. Chickens also get sick, just like little kids. (No, kids don't get chicken pox from chickens.)
- Chickens are hard work. Waterers need to be filled, feeders need to be filled, litter needs attended. Eggs need collected. Poopy butts need to be cleaned.
- Be prepared to be instantly addicted once you actually have chickens on your premises. They are highly addictive. I am not kidding. Seriously addictive.
With all of that being said, if you follow all of the above, you can definately raise Urban Chickens. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to help.
At the request of their facebook fans, my backyard flock has their own facebook page. Cackleberry Keep And The hens Of Anarchy. Feel free to follow me for awhile and get the feel of the day to day life of a busy chicken keeper who works full time and also has a rabbit and 2 goldendoodles.
Did I mention we live on a golf course?