Understanding Proper Gardening Techniques

Chickens Do Well On Urban Farms – If The Farmers Plan Well

Urban farming can take the form of a backyard farm or a commercial endeavor on a purchased city lot. In both cases, adding chickens to the mix can be a positive step. Fresh eggs are usually a great trade in neighborhood bartering networks, commercial farms can sell them relatively easily, and learning to take care of the chickens is instructive for adults and children alike. But chickens can also create problems if you don't know what you're doing. For new farmers, raising chickens isn't the most intuitive process. Paying attention to how the chickens might affect your neighbors and getting only the chickens you need is a good start.

Pay Attention to Noise

Noise is a huge deal. No matter how natural you think it is to hear chickens, not everyone wants to listen to roosters crowing or tons of hens clucking. Noise concerns, along with worries over smells and waste, are common complaints among neighbors who don't want urban farms near them, so you need to address these issues as you plan the farm and before you get any chickens. Luckily, the noise issue is typically easy to resolve: only get hens. Roosters crow, and you don't need roosters to get eggs unless you're specifically trying to market fertilized eggs or hatch chicks. Hens themselves may cluck, but their noise level is about the same as cats that quietly meow.

Why Are You Getting That Number of Chickens?

The number of chickens you have will affect your farm's success more than you realize. Chickens do have a social structure, so getting just one is not a good idea. You need at least three. Two is not really enough to form a flock, and chickens are very invested in maintaining a flock structure. This also means that if one chicken dies or escapes, you need to get another to take its place in the flock. You don't want to get too many more than that to start if you have no experience raising chickens.

Also, be aware of how many eggs you're going to get. With three chickens, you'll get on average three eggs each day. But their diets, stress levels, and even the amount of sunlight they get can change that number. In other words, if hens stop laying eggs in winter because they aren't getting enough sunlight, don't think buying more hens will solve your problem. You can get more hens as you gain experience.

Ensure Free-Roaming Chickens Are Restricted to Your Yard

One of the reasons neighbors often object to backyard chickens is because of the potential for the chickens to escape. That leads to plants being decimated in some cases, which is bad, and contamination from waste, which is worse. If you decide that you want your chickens to be fairly free-roaming, you still have to make sure they stay on your property. Give them ample space in your garden to roam, but keep the area fenced in to prevent the chickens from heading next door and destroying the neighbors' plants.

Chickens can be a rewarding animal to have around, both because of their eggs and because they can develop distinct personalities that you might enjoy interacting with. For easy chicken raising, plan well. Don't start this endeavor lightly. Make sure you can care for the chickens as well as protect your neighbors' rights and property, too. For more information on how to raise chickens, reach out to a local service, such as Chickens.org.