Raising chickens is not just popular on farms. In fact, raising chickens in urban areas is becoming increasingly popular. This is hardly surprising considering the benefits to be had from raising chickens. For starters, you get a regular supply of food from the eggs laid. Additionally, chicken manure is among the most effective (and organic) fertilizers around. Additionally, chickens are great for getting rid of garden pests.
Although there are general guidelines for raising healthy chickens, doing so in urban areas comes with its own peculiarities. Below, I look at some more facts and general do’s and don’ts guidelines about raising chickens in urban areas. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Raising chickens may be illegal
In some cities, raising chickens is not allowed. As such, before you go about making plans to raise your chickens, it would suit you to check with your municipality regarding the laws governing the same. There may be restrictions concerning how many chickens you can keep, for example, or how large your hen house can be, and designated areas where you can raise your poultry. Whatever the restrictions, if there are any, find them out before hand. Internet research can help you yield some results regarding the same.
2. Consider your neighbors
While you may be excited about your chickens, the same may not be true for others. It is important before you try to bring chickens home that you become cognizant of the same. For starters, chickens can be loud and bothersome to some neighbors thanks to their constant clucking. In some cases, your neighbors may be okay with you having chickens as long as certain conditions are met. If this is the case, it is important to meet the requirements that have been outlined. Finally, asking approval, and notifying your neighbors, is likely to be well-received and seen as a noble, thoughtful gesture.
3. Choose your chickens wisely
Believe it or not, not all chickens are the same. There are in fact different breeds with different temperaments. Firstly, for an urban development, it is perhaps better to opt for hens instead of roosters. This is as roosters are comparatively rowdier and noisier. Added to that is the fact that hens do not need roosters to reproduce, so they can lay eggs anyway.
In addition, to opting for hens over roosters, another rule of thumb is to opt for the “bantam” breed of fowls. Bantams are more docile than other breeds and they are also smaller in size and easier to handle. One final thing to consider regarding the type of chicken you choose is the size of their wattle and comb. This is as these are prone to frostbites which can become problematic and lead to health complications for the chicken.
3. Set up proper housing
When setting up your chicken coup, it is important to do so in a manner that keeps chickens in and predators out. As such, a high (and strong) privacy fence is important. Additionally, the hen house (or coop) should be warm, bright, and have enough ventilation (not too much to result in a draft).
Chickens take dust baths and like to sleep off the ground. As such, it is important that a dirt pen is also available and a roost for sleeping. A water dispenser and food tray are must-haves so that the chickens can get their daily intake of water and food. A pliable box can be used as a nesting box to store eggs as they come.
Finally, once you have everything set up, the next thing is to feed the hens regularly and keep their surroundings clean. Chicken can be found inexpensively in just about any feed store.