Backyard Chickens


There has been a significant increase in the number of people interested in raising poultry across the United States. This is true even in urban areas, where keeping chickens poses some challenges that are different from those of raising poultry in rural environments. While many cities and municipalities have restrictions that prohibit poultry, the strength and popularity of the local foods movement means that in many areas these ordinances are being changed. 

There are many benefits to raising poultry; the first that comes to mind is having fresh eggs on hand. There are a number of other benefits. Chickens make good pets and can be a source of companionship. Many people gain a sense of pride and satisfaction from raising well-cared-for healthy birds. Some families find that raising poultry is a great way for their children to learn about animal care. Chickens may help homeowners go “green”. 

Poultry waste is an excellent source of nutrients for plants, providing many of the key ingredients for composting and keeping fertilizer costs down. Many poultry owners use their birds to keep kitchen wastes out of their trash bins. Chickens will eat many vegetables and unseasoned meat scraps. 

The longstanding-rule in many urban areas has been that no poultry or farm animals are allowed unless the property has been zoned as agriculture. Across the country many groups are working to make it legal to raise poultry in areas where it was previously prohibited. Two of the major concerns are noise and smell. 

  To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.