chickens! coming to a backyard near us soon

A couple of years ago, one of our most commented posts asked “Would you keep chickens?” Overwhelming you said, heck yeah, we’d love to raise chickens, and quite a few of you already did. Suddenly advice was flowing on breeds, coop building and egg quality. Fast forward a couple of years, and suddenly it seems that literally everyone around me is talking chickens! Many in our little New Jersey town have had their feathers ruffled recently (can’t resist the pun, sorry), after an ordinance was passed allowing backyard chickens starting this spring. People are worried about bad smells and that the foul will attract rats. We already have racoons, skunks, groundhogs and squirrels up the whazoo. What’s the harm of a few chickens? I love the idea of teaching our child where her food comes from, and it will certainly help us be more self-sufficient. Unfortunately, our own little patch of grass is much to small for a coop (what with the puppy and the playground we have planned — more on that later), but I sincerely hope one of our neighbors gives it a go. If you’re inspired, you must check out Tilly’s Nest, which just won a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award from Country Living mag. Its dedicated to the joys of raising chickens. These birds look downright huggable, and their owner, Melissa, offers amazing advice for the novice. — Angela M.

Tell us: Would you mind if your neighbors had chickens?

Photo by Laura Pandaru

From our partners
js

I would not mind if my neighbors had chickens IF… they weren’t so close to the house that I could not escape their noise and smell, and if they neighbors cared for them properly to eliminate the filth.

DJ

I have neighbors who have chickens and there is nothing foul about the fowl. They have two hens, the neighbors keep their yard pristine, and they give us free incredibly fresh eggs from time to time. What’s not to like? Sometimes I hear them clucking, but find that sound far less disturbing than the pack of barking dogs kept by a different neighbor. The dog-owning neighbor, I might add, who does NOT keep her yard free of pet waste… phew.

We have some neighbors with chickens. Hens are fine – their clucking is actually quite pleasant. Roosters are not – their non-stop crowing early in the morning is SUPER ANNOYING. The closest neighbor with chickens is behind us and we don’t notice a smell or rodent problem at all. The neighbor’s yard next to them with too many dogs smells way worse. I’d take chicken neighbors (no roosters) over multiple unruly dog neighbors any day.

As long as there are no roosters in sight, I’m fine with it. Just ask people in Hawaii how they feel about those buggahs!

DJ

Forgot to add, I believe our city ordinance prevents owning roosters. And yes, rooster are crazy loud and disturbing esp. in the morning, but they can also crow at all hours of the day and night. So, hens = yay, eggs; roosters = @$&%^&$^*$!!!

I would LOVE for all my neighbors to have and raise chickens then I could too. That would be so wonderful. Thought of this for a long time. How can we get our city and neighbors agree to it?????

Love Roasters Crowing!

I don’t know about having a neighbor with chickens, because I am the chicken owner. But my neighbors, especially the three year old, love the chickens! We have no roosters (although someone in our country neighborhood does because I hear him) but our ten free ranging ladies strut their personalities every day. Responsible chicken-owning is easier than owing a dog. Thoughtful design and placement of coop and run, regular cleaning schedule (I spend about 2 hours per week), keep feed away from pests, and generous egg sharing are important. And nothing beats happy hour parked in a couple of lawn chairs chillin’ out watching the ladies. We call it “Chicken TV” and our neighbors are frequent viewers.

Why Not? One of the reasons why I raise chicken is that they are the best recyclers of food waste. I feed my chicken kitchen scraps, and their poop can become a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, which you can compost with leaves and other yard waste. Chickens also help you “exterminate” organic pests in your garden such as ticks and even insects. And the best thing of all, you get a free treat of fresh eggs all the time. :-)