I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. If I see something a little out of the ordinary, let’s say, and it isn’t hurting anybody, I tend to look the other way. Finding a few chickens tucked away in a basement where they can’t be seen by the public is not something that you see every day. But I did see that while reading water meters at my old job. That’s one way how to raise urban chickens, but it’s probably not the best way.
What is an Urban Chicken?
This may seem like a silly question, but bear with me. First of all, let’s agree that a city chicken is not something that you eat, that is on a stick, okay? Urban chickens are chickens that are raised in a village or a city, a densely populated area.
The reason why it’s done is typically for the fresh eggs. What kind of chickens do you want? Since there will be lots of people around in the vicinity of your coop area, you will want to keep only birds that are calm, friendly, and docile.
It’s probably best that you don’t keep a rooster because they get up early, and the novelty of their 4 o’clock alarm wears off quickly.
They are also very aggressive when it comes to loving the hens. A lot of people do not appreciate seeing such activity, and you really have to be as considerate as possible so that your neighbors don’t run to the village hall to overturn any ordinance that allows chickens to be raised in a “non-agriculture” zoned area.
More Benefits of Urban Chickens
Other benefits of raising city chickens include a grade-A nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium source for your backyard composter. Chickens eat almost anything that wiggles, wriggles, creeps, or crawls. They are great at the task of pest control, including ticks! And there is no better way of introducing the kids to the natural aspects of livestock raising.
First and foremost on the list of considerations of urban chicken ownership is whether it is legal to do so. Unless there is an ordinance allowing the raising of chickens in your municipality already, you will have to fight city hall to get one. A petition will have to be circulated. A meeting of the board will have to discuss it. Then it will have to be put up for a vote. I wish you well.
Assuming it is okay to raise your chickens, the next consideration is space. You are going to need a coop and a run. Free-ranging is out of the question because chickens are very curious animals and the neighbor’s pets might not like them infringing on their territory. The bigger the run you can provide your birds the better.
Do you know what likes chicken feed as much as chickens do? Rats, squirrels, mice, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, crows, pigeons, doves, I think you get the picture. Feed will have to be secured very well to keep everybody out. I like a nice, old-fashion metal garbage can with a metal lid for this purpose. It can take a beating and the top can be secured in a number of ways.
A Few Urban Chicken Breeds
SILKIE – Cream-colored eggs, Fluffy feathers with feathered feet, Friendly
BRAHMA – Brown eggs in varying hues, Light, Dark, and Buff colors, Feathered feet, Calm and friendly
BUFF ORPINGTON – Light Brown eggs, Buff color, Calm and friendly
AMERAUCANA – Blue or Green eggs, Brownish, Friendly
PLYMOUTH ROCK – Dark Brown eggs, Can have a barred appearance, Calm and gentle
WYANDOTTE – Light to Dark Brown eggs, Beautiful Whitish, Brownish, Reddish Mottled, Friendly
All of these breeds share similar characteristics and would make splendid additions to a city flock. If you’re looking for white eggs, the White Leghorn is a high egg producer, but they are flighty. You would have to watch them closely if they get out of the run.
Finding sources for the stocking of your baby chicks or pullets is easy. Cackle Hatchery is one choice. Meyer Hatchery is another good one. My Pet Chicken has chicks and pullets as well. Happy shopping!
The coop for your urban chickens will determine how many birds you can keep. Local ordinances will likely keep the number low. Chickens need about 4 square feet per bird to be comfortable, especially since they cannot run free around your village or city.
Your coop will need a few essentials. There should be a window for light unless you plan to put artificial light on a timer to replicate sunrise and sunset. Chickens lay best with 14-16 hours per day of light.
Nesting box(es) will be a must-have. Chickens prefer a safe, secure, dark place to lay.
The run should be ample so the chickens can forage a little. They like to peck and scratch, peck and scratch, peck and scratch – so much fun to watch! I must emphasize that there must be enough room to keep your birds calm. If they are kept on top of each other, they will fight, peck, and even kill each other to create more room and less competition. You’ll know this is happening if a bird or two are noticeably balding.
Bedding is essential. Pine shavings work well and can be found at farm stores and hardware stores. Keep a few inches on the floor of the coop, and keep fresh shavings in the nesting boxes.
Ventilation is a must in the coop. There should be at least two vents to keep the air fresh and flowing.
Let’s Bring It All In
Raising urban chickens can be a lot of fun. The eggs you can get will be unlike anything you can buy at the store. Fertilizer and pest control are added benefits and will benefit your garden and your backyard picnic by reducing bug counts. Keep your feed safe and secure, and don’t let the neighbors cat get your birds. Make sure you buy only friendly, calm chickens and stay away from the roosters unless you really don’t like your neighbors.
Most of what you need to know about how to raise urban chickens can be found in this video:
Hey, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I hope it helps you out in some way. If you want to make a comment about anything you’ve read here, please drop me a line below and I’ll get back to you right away.