Whenever my mind goes there, I often think about what I’d have to leave behind, and I quickly remember why we stayed. However, what if I were to tell you that you might be able to bring a little “country” into your urban living?
Have you ever considered raising chickens in the “city”? Whenever I think of this, I think of Happy and Roxanne with sunglasses and scarves, in their fancy new digs, thinking they’re all that and a bag of dried worms! Haha! But seriously, this got me thinking of so many who are taking on raising backyard chickens in cities and urban areas. It’s possible and many are joining this life-changing adventure!
I was able to interview my brother-in-law, who raised backyard chickens in both Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas. Dustin had wonderful information for me and I’m grateful for his insight!
4 Things You Need to Know Before Raising Chickens in the City
Each city is a bit different, but these are the four main things you need to consider if you’re going to raise chickens in town.
Laws and city ordinances
Be a good neighbor
1. Laws and City Ordinances
Every city and suburb has different ordinances and laws on whether or not chickens are allowed and how many you can have. It’s SO important to check before you go out and buy yourself a flock! You can typically find municipal and county ordinances online or visit your county law library, public library or city hall to access the ones not available online.
You may find yourself in a city that doesn’t allow feathered friends, and you’ll 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.
My brother-in-law 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 encouragement is not to sneak them in. Why not just advocate for them? With food costs skyrocketing, and the desire to know exactly where our food comes from, raising a small flock makes so much sense.
Then there are people like me who just keep adding to their flock. Regardless if they’re laying or not, my chickens get to stay. I can do this because we live in the country with no ordinances. That’s not what I recommend if you’re trying to save money. Haha! However, my chickens are my pets and they’ll live out their best life here at home. We have a lot of wide open space for them to explore, which brings me to my next point.
It’s easy to misread the amount of actual space you think you’re going to need when you pick up those sweet chicks. Baby chicks need 2 sq. ft. of space in their brooder. 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. There are many great plans out there for building your own coop, or buying a premade one.
Other things to consider: Will you allow them 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? Chickens poop a lot! Do you want this all over your yard? Chickens need about 10 sq.ft. of outdoor space per bird.
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, identify possible predators and do what you can to safeguard your coop.
3. Be a Good Neighbor
I would 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.
Again, 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. Keeping a good composting system will 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.
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! Haha! 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. Freshwater, chicken food, shelter and the right amount of space to enjoy life are 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 or in an urban area, 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!
Until next time,
-The Wing Lady