Bringing Chickens to the City

As a recently new member of the community of urban chicken owners, I really like reading about initiatives that are working to bring more of the fowl to city environments.  As such I point you to the brief article by Laura Anderson appearing on Mark Bittman’s blog, which talks about an initiative to get people raising chickens throughout New York City.

While there is a little bit of upfront work in the efforts of raising chickens (specifically keeping them warm and clean for the first couple of weeks and building them an ideal coop) most of the work of keeping the birds is minimal.  They can be very self sufficient in foraging and really only need a little bit of water and extra food to supplement their diet.  After anywhere from 18-24 weeks of age the birds will begin laying lovely eggs ready for use.  Depending on the breed each bird can produce anywhere from an egg a day to one ever other day.  In either case you can expect a minimum of about four eggs per bird for week (with upwards of seven a week for good layers).  Eggs are a great and easy protein source and are needed in just about all baking.  So owning a chicken can be a real good deal.

Chickens are also a lot of fun.  I think, prior to owning chickens, that I always assumed them to be kind of dumb and mundane animals.  My opinion has changed significantly since owning our own.  Chickens have very interesting personalities and can be fascinating to watch.  They are very social animals and really like to have companions, but they also quickly establish and maintain specific hierarchies in their groups.  Chicks, who are handled regularly from a young age, will form a close attachment to people.  We have one who loves to jump up on our laps if we are sitting nearby and all of them will gladly fall asleep perching on our arms or legs if we let them.  They can be a great opportunity for children to experience and animal that is different from your standard cat and dog.

I like the urban chicken movement because I think that it provides a simple means for us to get back to our roots of producing our own food and also recognizing where our food comes from.  Pair it with a bit of urban gardening and you have made a great commitment to self-sufficiency.  So if you want to give it a shot, consider getting a few chickens.

~ by Nathaniel on June 20, 2011.

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