The urban chicken movement is growing as more and more folks try to move away from factory farmed food and towards self-sufficiency.

Why Chickens?

Chickens are pretty low-maintenance. Once you have your coop set up, you just have to make sure they’re fed, watered, and get to run around outside. Most people who raise their own chickens do so for the eggs, not the meat. Instead of buying eggs from a factory farm or from hundreds of miles away, urban chicken owners benefit from a cheap, local, reliable source of protein. Chicken poop is also a great fertilizer for your garden!

Back yard chickens become less like livestock and more like beloved pets. Some friends of mine have a few chickens in their yard. They showed me how to pick them up and were proud of the Omlet chicken coop that they’d gotten for their little ones.

Is That Even Legal?

Laws about keeping chickens vary between states and sometimes even between cities. The City Chicken has a great rundown of chicken laws in tons of cities. Some towns have incredibly specific laws, like in Minneapolis where a prospective chicken owner, “needs consent from 80 percent of neighbors within 100 feet of real estate.” Some places, like Portland, OR, just limit the number of chickens you can have. Here in Atlanta, chickens are allowed with no restrictions.

It’s a good idea to check on the laws about chickens in your town before investing in a set up. Once you’re sure it’s legal to keep them, a little research on things like the right breed and proper coop is probably in order. There are lots of great online resources for getting started, like Backyard Chickens and Urban Chickens.

[Creative Commons photo by Linda N.]