My best friend’s niece raises chickens in her backyard. Now, this may not seem too abnormal, but to me it is – she lives in the middle of Memphis. But, even city folks are starting to appreciate raising their own chickens. Having your own chickens helps not only feed your belly (and in a fresh way too!), but can reduce your impact on the environment. Plus, the chicken manure is great for composting.
Before you rush out and purchase all you need for chickens, you first need to make sure it is legal. If you live in the city, there may be zoning rules about how many chickens you can have and you may be required to get a permit. Some zoning laws prohibit roosters. So, check with your local officials to make sure you are on the right side of the law before beginning this little adventure. If chickens aren’t allowed outside, you can always consider keeping a chicken in the house. I know it may sound a bit crazy, but some people do this. There are even chicken diapers you can purchase if you are up to the challenge.
If it is legal to have chickens in your backyard and you live near others, it is always polite to notify them of your plans ahead of time. Be sure to have all your chicken raising info ready so you can ease any fears they might have about these fowl neighbors.
How many hens you purchase depends on how many eggs you want. If you use about a dozen a week, a couple of hens should be able to provide this for you. But, don’t get any less than two – hens are social and one might get lonely and depressed (seriously!). The hens should cost about $20 to $30.
You will want a hutch or chicken coop for your chickens. They need shade and protection from the elements, just like any other type of animal. Make sure their home is protected enough to keep out rodents, raccoons, dogs, or other animals that might be looking for a quick meal. A hutch costs about $150 while a chicken coop could run a little less.
Of course, your chickens will need feed. You can give them scraps such as fish, meat, pasta, fruit, and veggies, but you can also expect to spend about $2 a week for mash or pellets.