Getting Started with Urban Backyard Chickens

Yep, there’s a difference. Out here, we have 40 acres and barns and pens. Plenty of space, lots of food and water. (And lots of predators!) Ideal chicken country, minus the predators. But if all you have is a standard city lot, along with a little bit of political permission, you can get started raising urban backyard chickens.

People who live in urban environments are turning on to raising backyard chickens as part of the growing trend to produce more of their own food, live more locally and live more green. Cities across North America are passing local bylaws allowing city homeowners to raise a few chickens. There are many benefits to raising your own flock but before rushing out and buying a box full of chicks, you’ve got a little bit of homework to do. Some research is required around your local laws, urban chicken breeds and the ideal urban chicken coop design for your situation.

Number one, make a call to your town or city office and as about the raising of backyard poultry and the local by-laws. Breaking the animal by-laws will result in anything from a warning and order to remove the chickens to a fine and confiscation of your birds. On the upside, many urban centers are getting on board with backyard farming and do allow the keeping of a few hens. Roosters, on the other hand, are frowned upon due to their…ahem…early morning tendencies.

Second, in the interest of peace keeping and good relations, you should approach your neighbors. At least the ones within two houses on all sides. They will be the most likely ones to object to noise and odors, albeit minor, that may come from your yard. Of course, a promise of a few fresh eggs might go a long ways to making a healthy alliance.

Finally, once the local government and the neighbors are satisfied, it’s time to plan the coop. There are plenty of backyard chicken coop plans around that are suited to urban environments. Yard size, budget and your skill set will have to be taken into consideration when choosing your urban chicken coop design.

Typical backyard designers are ѕіzеd tо hоld аnуwhеrе frоm 3-6 bіrds, include a open air run, nest boxes and covered coop. Fоr соld wеаthеr сlіmаtеѕ, thеу hаvе tо bе wіntеrіzеd – insulated with a heat source which can be as simple as a 100 watt bulb on a timer.

Reach out to the community. Your town or city office will have a record or who is already raising chickens and may be willing to facilitate networking you. Farmers markets are a another great way to fіnd оthеr реорlе whо аrе urbаn fаrmіng. Sееk оut сhісkеn сlubѕ аnd оnlіnе fоrumѕ thаt аrе асtіvе – thеѕе аrе thе реорlе whо hаvе bееn thеrе dоnе thаt аnd аrе gооd rеѕоurсеѕ tо hеlр gеt ѕtаrtеd.

If you’re raising chickens in your backyard, we would love to hear about your challenges and successes! Leave a comment below! Links to pictures are most welcome too!