Maybe you’ve heard that raising chickens is only for people out in the country. Well, the goal of my article is to convince you that that is a myth. The laws surrounding raising chickens have succumbed to the winds of change. Plenty of books and articles tackle the topic of raising chickens in urban areas. If you are seriously considering raising chickens in your area check out your local ordinances and laws. Search ordinances for your city. Here is a link that lists some state laws. http://thecitychicken.com/chickenlaws.html
With that in mind let’s dive into the joys of raising chickens. There are some things you should consider before diving in. I’ll be sharing pictures from a urban farm from last year’s Coup d’ Tour in the Raleigh area to kick start some ideas.
Read about the chicken coup featured in this blog entry on Chicken D’ Coop’s website. http://www.tourdcoop.com/coops/2014/19.html
First thing to consider is if you have the space and materials. This coop has a roosting house and a fenced in play area. The advantage of raising your own chickens is you know that they are receiving proper care and nourishment versus being cooped up in a inhumane living place. Also, think about what your plans for winter will be. How are you going to keep them warm when the heavens pour down a sheet of snow? Our chicken coop is covered with plastic and we even keep a heater in there. As I write my window gives me a view of a winter wonderland and our chickens look to be tolerating the weather.
To give the chickens more freedom you can create a bigger fenced in area in addition to the coop. Chickens like to hunt down bugs.
Other things to consider:
1. After figuring out space, think about what you want to feed your chickens. Do you want to feed them just grain? Do you want to feed them vegetable scraps and grain? What quality food will you buy? The cost of the feed often reflects the quality. Paying a little more for good quality will be better in the long run.
2. Next you will need to decide if you want to use antibiotics or not. I’m all for doing things organically, but we had to choose between using antibiotics or possibly losing our chickens. Do your research on diseases and solutions when buying chickens.
3. What in the world are you going to do with all that poop?! Chicken manure is great for gardens, but you are going to need to compost it. Below are pictures of economical ways to do that.
These composters are attached to stakes making it easier to turn them. Black barrels helps with the hot composting method. We used wood pallets to make our composters. I add leaves to mine to cover the chicken manure and decrease the smell.
A source of water is important for raising life stock and a maintaining a garden. More than just being important it is crucial. Water = life. No water = no life. It is that simple. Craigslist is a great source for finding barrels and other items that can be recycled.
Urban farming can be beautiful. Get creative and figure out clever ways to recycle materials. There are plenty of materials you can recycle whether building a coop or decorating your property
Once you start raising chickens and get into sustainable living, you may find that a dominoes effect takes place. One thing leads to another and soon another animal joins the herd, a garden takes shape, and organic foods stock the refrigerator shelves. Sustainable living takes commitment, but it is a lifestyle that you won’t regret. Taking care of God’s creation shows good stewardship and respect. We only have one earth. Are you ready to take action?