How to Keep Chickens in an Urban Environment
Chickens can be wonderful and profitable pets, so it's no wonder chicken raising is catching on--even in large cities. However, if you're making plans for a metropolitan flock, there are a few different things to keep in mind. Here are some tips for how to keep chickens in an urban environment.
The first step to raising chickens is to check the laws in your city. To many people's surprise, it's not uncommon for cities in the United States to allow backyard chickens. Of course, there are always some regulations to pay close attention to. Find out how close to property lines you can set up your chicken facilities and how many chickens you can have in your yard. Many cities still ban roosters due to their noise. Make sure you know all your city's rules and guidelines before setting up your chickens and their home.
When you think of a chicken's natural predators, you might think of coyotes, foxes, hawks--animals you don't see every day in the city. However, urban areas still hold a host of threats to your chickens, and it's important to protect them from the city's predators. Stray dogs, raccoons, rats, and even hawks are common in metropolitan areas. If you don't properly construct your chickens' coop or run, these animals may easily find their way inside. Be sure to use sturdy chicken coop netting and bury it a foot underground so raccoons and dogs can't dig underneath it. Additionally, keep strong locks on your doors to deter raccoons and keep the coop clean of leftover or spilled food to avoid attracting rats.
If you can, set aside an area in your yard where your chickens can roam. Free-range chickens will feed themselves with insects, grass, and seed in your yard. Make sure you don't have any valuable plants or garden space nearby because they'll tear it up in their search for food. Chickens are also extremely good at getting rid of any kitchen waste. Whether or not your chickens can free roam, however, you should still provide them with chicken feed to ensure they remain healthy and thriving.
Your neighbors are a large part of how to keep chickens in an urban environment. Even if your city allows chickens and you follow all the rules, it might be a little harder to get your neighbors on board. Of course, there are a few things you can do to convince them to come around. Talking to them ahead of time so there is no surprise when their new feathery neighbors move in. Open communication can get rid of a lot of conflicts before they even occur. It's also important to be a considerate neighbor by keeping your chicken facilities as clean and odorless as possible. You can also share the joys of your chickens. Give your neighbors fresh eggs or show off your baby chicks--these are great ways to let your neighbors fall in love with your chickens.