Raising chickens in the city can be challenging. With neighbors issues, predators, and the law to deal with, you NEED this post to get you started.
This past year has been our worst ever for predator attacks. For twelve years, not a one, now, in 2016 we’ve had five. Three were by coyotes, one by a hawk, and yesterday, a bobcat. When the first attacks happened in February, we predator proofed all our coops better over a few months.
We are finally done and everybody is safe. Then, yesterday I thought it would be nice to let the flock out for 20 minutes while I cleaned the coop.
They stayed close, no more than 20 feet away from where I was working. Sounds safe enough right? NO. Hard to even believe this, but, a bobcat jumped up from behind our 7ft block wall and snatched Peaches, my best mamma Silkie hen and took off with her. Seriously, what are the chances of that happening? I’m devastated.
So much for trying to be kind to my girls with a little free roam time. I never in a million years thought a bobcat or any other predator would attack with me out there, I was dead wrong. And… if you think because you’re in the city your chickens are safe, they’re not. Our little farm is located in the middle of the city, with mega traffic and high density housing all around us.
There is however, 700 acres of state leased mountain range right behind our property. Nevertheless, you’d think a busy neighborhood with a maze of block wall fencing would keep predators within their natural boundaries, or at least somewhat discourage them. Wrong, trust me, there are no boundaries.
Although I’m embarrassed to admit I allowed my flock to fall victim to a predator when I should have known better, I’m warning you now to never assume your birds are safe. Beware, chickens are NOT safe unless they are in a predator safe enclosure at all times… even in the city, and even if you’re right with them.
Below are pics of the predators spotted on our urban farm in the last year. A dangerous mix that most people probably assume are unlikely to be within the city limits. Guess what… wherever you live, they’re prowling in your backyard as well. Keep your chickens protected, and remember, some predators will also go after a small dog. Today we bought a large 10x10x6ft high covered dog pen so our little dogs are safe when they go outside. All this pretty acreage, and sadly they aren’t safe to run free and enjoy it anymore.
These predators have all visited our little urban farm at one time or another.
Interested in raising chickens in the city? Not sure if it is allowed? Jordan Walker, the lead content curator of Coops And Cages, answers these questions that are commonly baffling interested breeders.
Chickens are very inexpensive pets. Not only are they easy to maintain, but they also produce eggs every now and then. Plus, kids can also have fun with them on occasion since chickens also serve as very great pets. With these numerous benefits, it’s no wonder people would like to raise chickens in the city. Is this possible though?
Local Laws and Regulations
Hens make the perfect addition to any backyard. However, you should first check if there are any local ordinances barring the raising of chickens. More often than not, these ordinances don’t really ban them but actually put certain requirements in place so as to keep everybody happy. Some of these regulations include but aren’t limited to the proper use of chicken enclosures, limitation on the number of chickens per household, and possibly mandatory inspections and vaccinations.
Even if you’ve verified that the law has provisions for chicken breeding, you still need to maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbors. Else, they can raise concerns with public offices and courts if the chickens annoy them. Be sure you check if the whole thing is alright with them. It even helps to commit to having no roosters around and offering free eggs every now and then to appease them.
While chickens do appreciate having huge space to roam around, they are also fine cooped up in a secure space. Chickens are pretty much the bottom of the food chain and are prone to being snatched by predators such as raccoons, dogs, cats and other animals.
Coops and chicken enclosures are also great for protecting them against harsh weather and at the same time giving them some run space for fresh air purposes.
It isn’t impossible to raise chickens in the city. Chickens are great additions to any household and they help provide more food for the residents. Additionally, they also make excellent pets due to their calm demeanor. As long as you are clear with the law and your neighbors, you can raise them as you see fit.
Author: Jordan Walker
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs.
Urban chicken keeping is quite popular, your neighbors might even have chickens and you don’t even know it! Chickens are quiet, it’s roosters that are loud and become the neighborhood nuisance. Every city has laws pertaining to keeping backyard chickens, but they are seldom if ever enforced unless there’s a complaint. So, no roosters!
There has to be laws, and be glad there are, nobody wants to have a neighbor with a gazillion birds stinking up the neighborhood. But I can assure you there aren’t any chicken police knocking on doors of keepers having a few birds responsibly kept in a clean and secure environment.
Let’s be realistic, if you live in a suburban subdivision where the houses are only a few feet apart and you pay an HOA – keeping chickens is definitely a bad choice. Keeping chickens under the radar is also a bad idea, you could have your chickens confiscated by authorities, be fined, or both. However, if keeping chickens is allowed in your city and you have a spacious, private, and fenced back yard, a few hens won’t cause a disturbance. But, there are still rules and unwritten laws to follow.
Your hens should be completely out of sight from all neighbors and the public. That means building a privacy fence or planting bushes that add appeal to your property. It’s never a good idea to draw attention to the fact you are keeping chickens as not everybody will graciously welcome them. Many people believe they harbor disease, smell, attract flies, rodents, and the list goes on and on. You should have enough space for your hens to be confined in a fenced area attached to a coop or shelter.
My personal rule of thumb is to keep birds no less than 40 feet from your neighbors house, even if the ordinance in your city requires less. If you can do this, there shouldn’t be a problem with neighbors unless you fail to keep them clean or confined.
Remember, the law may give you the right to keep chickens, but nuisance laws give your neighbors the same right to say you can’t. Be responsible, clean, and maintain your small flock with integrity.