Contrary to popular belief, being a backyard farmer doesn’t require a backyard, per say. There are so many benefits to raising your own chickens for meat and eggs, and those benefits don’t belong to the country folk alone. Plenty of people raise their own chickens in urban environments and here’s some insight on home they manage to do it successfully.
Know The Local Laws
You’re not doing anyone any good if you choose to purchase chickens and set up coop before you know what the local regulations are concerning owning chickens. It may be kind of exciting to go against the grain, but those laws are in place for a reason. Chances are you aren’t the only other rogue soon-to-be chicken owners within city limits, so you’re best bet is actually to find like-minded individuals and hit up a city council meeting to plead your case.
If you get caught housing the little buggers without a proper permit or simply in complete defiance of the law, you could actually make it more difficult for those in town petitioning to get the laws changed, and let’s be real here—no matter how stealthy you think you are, hiding chickens is no easy feat.
Learn Some Things About Chickens
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that chickens come in lots of different sizes and color palettes; this is because, just like most other creatures on earth, there isn’t just one breed. The first step to take when you are considering adopting this kind of animal is to learn a bit about each breed. Some are better in cooler weather than others and each breed has its own little quirks.
The next thing you need to determine is how you feel about chicken feed. Chickens are capable of eating lots of things from table scraps to weeds in the garden, but ultimately, it’s up to you as the owner to decide how they should be nourished.
For the health-minded individual, non-GMO chicken feed is where it’s at.
Scope Out A Space
So you thought that getting your permit was the tricky part? Oh, silly you. Now that you are allowed to have chickens and you know which ones to get and how to feed them, you’ve got to find a space for them to live.
For those individuals with small yards on the side of their homes—which aren’t actually big enough for much of anything—you can fit a chicken coop there! The roof of a home or apartment building is also a really great option. Actually, we’ve even seen someone who made a coop out of an old van. How creative is that?
Lucky for you, these old birds don’t need a whole ton of space; you just may have to think outside the box to make the space you have work.
Provide Proper Care
Usually, I’d think that this little tidbit would go without saying, but it truly needs to be said. You need to stay on top of watering your animals and even providing extra hay when the days start getting chilly. Furthermore, when your chickens live in quarters that are pretty close to your neighbors, there is always the potential for problems. (Don’t raise any roosters if you can help it.) Keeping the coop clean is essential to happy chickens and happy neighbors.
Providing proper care for your hens also means understanding the life cycle and being prepared to do what is best for the bird. If you only want the eggs from the chickens, you should know now that they only lay for three to four years. If you don’t have the stomach to turn the old birds into broilers, then you should be prepared to keep them as pets for another four years minimum. If neither option sounds appealing to you, then perhaps your best bet is to buy your food fresh at the farmers market.
Becoming An Urban Chicken Owner
Congratulations on beginning your new journey! It’s sure to be a fulfilling one. Raising chickens isn’t an easy task anywhere that you live, but doing it in an urban city brings on a fresh set of challenges, and the rewards are just as sweet. If you want to take a bigger role in the production of your food for you and your family, raising chickens in the big city is a great place to start.