Keeping Backyard Chicken and having an Urban Farm is possible. Here are somethings to keep in mind with backyard chickens.
On our urban farm we keep a flock of 6 chickens which tecnically are techincally considered backyard chickens.
But living in the city or country really doesn’t make a diference when it comes to keeping chickens.
In fact, it’s one of the first things you can do to become more self sufficient on any property you own.
It’s a huge misconception that chickens need a large area or that you can only keep them on a farm.
As I mentioned, our property isn’t a large farm and let me tell you, our farm is not a farm at all.
Not in conventional terms anyhow. We live in a residential neighborhood in the North side of our medium to small sized town. (Its small depending on who you ask) On our property we even have a pretty good sized 8 foot pool smack dab in the middle of our backyard.
Of course I wasn’t thinking farm when I purchased this home and burying the pool is not in the cards since I paid to also redo the gunite shortly after moving in. However, being that we are home quite a bit, it is a nice activity to have for the summer months. Lord knows it gets HOT here!
But back to my sweet girls in the back part of our yard. We got them on a whim. I was thinking of getting up to 3 baby chicks from the local farm supply and then right around this time a friend on Facebook had posted that she was rehoming her flock of 6.
I saw the post and thought, not a chance. 6 was far too many and what did I even know about caring for birds of any kind? ZERO, absolutely NOTHING! That’s what! If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you may know where this is going…
Yes, I had them at my house within days of the Facebook post. Coop and all. I built them their run by myself and did a makeshift style door using a peg from the hardware department and a tomato stake.
Like most things, we were in it. To be completely honest I was nervous about the whole thing yes but the learning curve was small. At least in comparison to learning pool maintenance. That was a total pain in the neck and continues to be each wonderful summer we spend here.
Lets Talk Productivity…
So here we are with 6 chickens and no roosters. I am not at the point of wanting to breed and raise meat birds. But that is a whole other side to this that could be very beneficial some.
Each day they produce anywhere from 3 to 12 eggs for us. If your keeping count they are able to lay up to twice a day. Just yesterday I scooped up 12 of them out of the nesting bed. I also decided to keep a compost pile right inside the chicken run which has been a total genius thing to do.
First of all they love to scratch through it every single day so mixing the compost pile is not necessary! And let me just also add, when they are doing all this scratching about, they also leave their droppings in there to mix around too adding in a great nitrogen addition to the pile. They break down everything in a matter of days! It’s amazing!
The Work Involved…
Everyday of mine begins exactly the same way. Me headed out to the chicken coop to let the girls out of the coop, I feed them and check their water. In the evening, around nightfall, they go inside the coop on their own and I just pop on out there to shut the door behind them.
This protects them from predators while in their coop at night. About once a week I like to rake through the run to push the droppings to the compost pile in the corner. I also clean out their nesting bed by removing the straw and adding new.
The last thing I do is drop a few scoops of Diatomaceous Earth on the run to help keep mites off the birds. Its natural and effective way to do this.
I plan to post more on this wonderful stuff as I found it by accident and boy has it been a cost effective way to maintain lots of things around our small farm. This all takes literally a few minutes a day.
For this minimal amount of effort you are rewarded with year round farm fresh eggs, compost helpers for the garden, and let me not forget to mention one of my favorite unexpected parts to all of this. The joy they give you.
Backyard chickens or chickens rather, are sweet creatures who come running towards you whenever they see you. I love to hear them from my garden. Working away and announcing their eggs for the day. They are curious, docile and they love each other as well.
I tried separating them one afternoon to help me churn up some weeds as I mentioned they love to scratch. Well that idea went away quick. When I noticed them trying to escape the new area and the chickens in the run equally trying to come to them.
It went on for over a half hour so I just returned the few birds to the run and they were off to the water bin together happy as can be. When you see this sort of bond in an animal its a bit eye opening. You realize that all living things share love equally.
It’s been a wonderful addition for us and one I would do over again in a second.