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How To Raise Chickens In The City

Updated on May 13, 2012

city chickens

My thoughts of late have been turning to chickens, well actually eggs, but chickens are the delivery vehicle so chickens are what I am pondering.

I know that it is possible to keep 3-5 laying hens in a coop in a backyard and that 3-5 chickens will provide enough, possibly more than enough eggs for the two of us, perhaps we can trade the surplus if there is any for other items that we need.

The first thing that I need to do is find out if the municipal bylaws permit chickens. Some do, some don’t and of those who do, there are often restrictions, for example, you cannot slaughter the birds for meat they are considered pets, if you get some eggs, cool.

So step one; find out what the bylaws state before going ahead.

Step two is talk with your neighbours. A few points on your side; now chickens are not as noisy and dirty as some claim and you do not need a rooster because the eggs we eat are not fertilized so you can have your omelets and leave the males out of the picture.

This is one reason why many vegetarians eat eggs, the laying hens produce them anyway and the eggs will not become chickens.

building coop

and more chickens

You will need to build a chicken coop and as free range may be a problem, you may want to give some thought to building a movable coop. This way the chickens get a different view but more importantly they can fertilize different sections of your lawn.

The Garden Girl video shows you how to make a coop that is ideal for urban use.

In the city, you do have to be concerned about predators, depending upon where you live foxes and coyotes may be an issue, but dogs and cats are also a concern and not juts the wild ones. A locked up chicken can be a tempting meal.

You will need a backyard or other space that is fenced off and secure enough to reduce the ability of any being seeking an easy meal to get one.

The coop also needs to be strong enough to keep animals out.

The coop also needs to be strong enough to keep animals out. You will not need an alarm system to warn you about any predators, the chickens will raise their own alarm if threatened.

One valid concern is the need to keep the chicken coop clean. this is how you prevent disease; and do not overcrowd your chickens, make the coop big enough for them.

Do your research first

Keeping your own chickens and harvesting their eggs is a step towards being able to feed yourself during tough economic times. In addition to the food value of the eggs, there is the economic value in the ability to trade some eggs for other items and having something to trade may be worth more and more if the economy keeps on sliding as food prices keep on rising.

You will also have the chickens which you can trade if it is absolutely necessary to do so.

However, before going out and investing in laying hens and the material for the chicken coop, do your homework; learn as much as you can about all aspects of raising and caring for chickens and as I said near the beginning be sure you can keep them where you live and if you can follow the bylaw to the letter.

How many chickens will you need? Well, that depends upon your egg consumption; so many eggs does you family eat each week?

You may find that one layer lays one egg per day, so if this holds true then 4 layers means four eggs per day which quals 28 eggs per week which will be more than enough for a family of four.

One consideration is keeping the chicken coop warm during the cold winter months. Madcity Chickens say:

"They can live quite happily, through the coldest winter, if they have an insulated coop or a light inside their coop. The smaller the coop, the easier it is for them to keep it warm. Birds can get frostbite. Birds with large combs tend to be more susceptible. Also, some breeds are just hardier than others"

If you are reading this hub you have taken your first step towards raising your own chickens; follow the links, watch the videos and you are well on your way to having your owns eggs and the chickens too, enjoy the adventure.


chickens in the city

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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    Chickens in urban settings make senses, thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Dame Scribe 5 years ago

    Awesome article! I've been considering this idea also and love the idea of strengthening our self reliance. Love that one part - can't slaughter them as they are considered 'pets', lol

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Jamiehousehusband profile image

    Jamiehousehusband 7 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

    Yes I've been through all these concerns, albeit semi rural. We are a family of 4 and have 5 hens, getting an average of 3.5 eggs per day so far, which leaves us with surplus which we'll trade.

    Worthwhile experience though just for the wonderful taste of the eggs!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick


  • Michael Shane profile image

    Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

    Great hub Bob!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the information and thanks for dropping by.

  • spiderspun profile image

    spiderspun 7 years ago from Utopia, Ontario Canada

    I have 11 hens, and sell the over flow to people on my street. Right now the hens have and elevated coop with a runway into a small barn. In the summer there will be a runway to an enclosed area that is ground level. It still needs a topper to keep pedators out. We are in a forest and have tons of predators trying to get our chickens, but the coop is tight as a drum

  • profile image

    NoahHarju 8 years ago

    hey if your raising chickens in the city your gonna need some top notch chicken coops hers where you can find an article on these coops

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks Debby and I will.

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 9 years ago

    Thanks for creating this hub. Great info. Check out my Chicken Story:

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    What a good idea.

  • profile image

    Paul Hughes 9 years ago

    A determined group in Calgary is about to reintroduce the alien concept of fresh eggs....

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the added information,  it helps when others add their experiences. I have added Marye's chciekn tractor hub as a link, thanks ZB.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Bob! Great hub again. You should check out Marye's hub on chicken tractors. I already bought my building supplies so that I will be building mine over the winter. I used to have about 20 pullets. The way it averaged out is 6 eggs per chicken per week.

    Keeping chicken can be a fun and easy hobby which pays you back for your efforts. Not too many hobbies like that, is there?

    super great hub regards Zsuzsy

  • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

    Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

    I used to keep chickens, as many as 30 at a time. Great plan, but do bear in mind if they are scared by a wild animal, or old (over 2 years), they will go off the lay and you may, for brief periods, find yourself having to feed chickens that are not laying. No chicken will lay every single day, so expect to have days with only 2 or 3 eggs if you have 5 or so chickens. Otherwise, great idea and worth going for :)

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    bpangie 9 years ago

    I used to have chickens when I lived in rural upstate New York. Not so sure how it would go over now, but chickens are truly one of the most rewarding forms of livestock. Anyone who can should raise a chicken or two.