Small Space Gardening
Chicken-Loving Urbanites (Benefits of Raising Chickens)
Chickens are super-easy keepers
Chickens Were Made for the City
During World War II the U.S. government distributed posters about how raising chickens in your urban backyard was your patriotic duty and would help the war effort. When the troops came home the urban chicken fell out of favor and slowly became illegal contraband for many municipalities. However, with interest in backyard chickens returning, municipalities that once made them illegal are starting to reconsider the chicken's place in the urban environment.
When we got our first three girls, I would sit out with them totally mesmerized by their chicken-ness. As they pecked and scratched and bathed in the dirt I would just watch in amazement. Raising our first chicks wasn't any less magical. I was intrigued by how mama would let the chicks hang off her waddle without even a flinch. She protected them like they were part of her (even though we had brought them home from the feed store).
I love chickens. Who knew? I share the chicken keeping experience with everyone. So much so, that I've become "The Chicken Pusher." I'm here to better your life with chickens. So here are some reasons why you should get chickens.
They make you breakfast (and lunch and dinner if you so choose and let's not forget dessert). Well-cared for hens make a better breakfast, at that. The yolks are so dark they are almost orange, and they taste so much better. Not to mention that they live much happier lives than those poor caged hens.
Chickens take care of pests and weeds. They have a particular penchant for Bermuda grass, which is awesome for us. Of course they also love bugs. Chickens are omnivores. Don't let the "All Vegetarian Diet" on a carton of eggs fool you. They need animal protein to be healthy, especially during their seasonal molt which can really tax them. And did I mention that they also kill rodents? Yeah, chickens are pretty awesome.
They are super-easy keepers. With an automatic watering device and a large feeder, you don't have to tend to their basic needs that much. Even less if you allow them to free range. The only daily chore for our chickens is collecting eggs. When free ranging, they also don't require as much coop cleaning. You don't need a rooster to have hens that lay (roosters can sometimes stress hens out too much so they lay less). Plus, hens are pretty quiet--only making noise for less than 10 minutes a day right after laying an egg. This usually occurs late morning and early afternoon. They make no noise between sunset and sunrise. In addition, they don't require much room. The coop only needs 2-3 square feet per chicken with an attached yard that offers an additional 5-6 square feet per chicken. Raising the coop up off the ground allows for an even smaller footprint for the total space needs of chickens.
Chickens make your compost. And they make enough of it that you will probably never have to bring offsite compost home again, depending on how many chickens you have and how big your garden is. They really are great for low-input gardening.
They are entertaining and make great pets. Even though we don't handle ours much, they are friendly. They let us pick them up and handle them if we need to. If you do handle yours a lot from the beginning, they easily bond with you and can be great for kids.
There are, of course, many more reasons why any urbanite should consider having chickens. This is just a good list to get you started on thinking about why you should raise some chickens of your own.