Everything You Need to Know About Raising Chickens in the City
Updated: May 7, 2020
As most of you know, our family lives on an acreage. It’s a beautiful setting along a riverbed with lots of wide open space to dream about our next adventure. For us, there are more pros than cons to living in the country. However, there are definitely certain times when living in the city would make our life easier!
Whenever my mind goes there, I often think about what I’d have to leave behind, and I quickly remember why we stay. However, what if I were to tell you, you might possibly be able to bring a little “country” into your city-living? Have you ever considered raising chickens in the city? Whenever I think of this, I imagine of Happy and Roxanne with sunglasses and scarves, with fancy digs thinking they are all that and a bag of dried worms! Haha!
But seriously, this got me thinking of so many people who are taking on raising backyard chickens in the city. It is possible and many are joining this life-changing adventure! I was able to interview my brother-in-law, Dustin, who raised backyard chickens in both Corpus Christi, TX and Austin, TX. Dustin had wonderful information for me and I’m grateful for his insight! Each place was a bit different, but these are the main points we will talk about today:
Laws and city ordinances
Be a good neighbor
LAWS AND CITY ORDINANCES
Every city is different as far as if they allow chickens and how many are allowed. It is so important to check before you go out and buy yourself a flock! You may find yourself in a city that doesn’t allow our feathered friends, and you will quickly need to find them a new home or possibly even face penalty fines.
On the other hand, some cities encourage chickens! This was the case in Austin, TX. Dustin was even eligible for a $75 rebate for a new coop. Most places will allow you so many chickens per square foot of your property. Or, they may just allow you “X” number of chickens. Regardless of where you live, do your research! And, if you live in a place that doesn’t allow chickens, my advice is not to sneak them in. Instead, just advocate to have them!
It’s easy to misread the amount of actual space you think you’re going to need when you pick up those sweet chicks. Remember, each fully grown chicken needs 4 sq. ft. of space in a coop. If you’re in town and have a smaller backyard, you will need to take this into consideration when you’re setting up your coop.
Other things to consider: Will you allow your chickens to free range in a fenced in yard or will you need a run? Will your chickens take up your entire outdoor living space, or will you have space to enjoy other outside activities? If you have a smaller flock, it doesn’t take much, but chickens won’t be happy unless they have adequate space. And remember, a happy hen lays great eggs!
One benefit of city chickens is while there are predators, there may not be multitudes of them. Look over your space and identify possible predators and do what you can to safeguard your coop.
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
I'll go out on a limb here and guess that most cities won’t allow roosters. However, Dustin shared that Austin, TX did allow roosters, but due to other noise restrictions, most people didn't keep them. My roosters crow all day long. It’s not just a morning thing! I would imagine that might get old for someone right next door.
Also, chickens poop...a lot! Keeping a clean and good smelling coop will allow for some pretty great compost, but will keep your neighbors happy as well. Remember to use Coop Recuperate™ and you will have a fresh smelling coop that will also help control the fly population. Use the poop to keep a good composting system to benefit your gardens, and if you have extra, feel free to offer some to your neighborhood gardens as well.
It’s also very important to note that keeping chickens within your own property lines will maintain good relationships with your neighbors and keep your chickens safe.
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Honestly, chickens do not have to cost a lot. However, once you get involved with these sweet birds, you will find yourself buying all things chickens. Treats for your chickens, tailoring your meal planning to include leftovers for your chickens, and so on! While these things aren’t necessary, they are so much fun!
Chickens are easy to care for and don’t require a lot to thrive. Fresh water, chicken food, shelter, and the right amount of space to enjoy life is about all it takes. You can build a coop for less or go extravagant. It’s really up to you. Having an unlimited supply of farm fresh eggs definitely makes the little we do spend worth it!
So, if you are living within city limits. Do your research. I have many friends within city limits all over the country starting their very first flocks. It’s fun to watch and see all the creative ideas they have for their backyard setup. If you’re “on the fence”, take the plunge! Your life will only be sweeter because of these beautiful birds!
--The Wing Lady