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Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping Etiquette

Raising backyard chickens is a wonderful and joyous undertaking. From the adorable cuteness of baby chicks, to anxiously awaiting their first egg, you will quickly become enamored with everything chicken from the very start.

But beware, not everyone will share your joy - and some basic etiquette must be followed if you expect to continue to be well-liked by family, friends and neighbors.

Here are some basic tips to ensure that you follow proper backyard chicken keeping etiquette:

1.) Forego the Facebook Feed

You will be tempted to post a deluge of cute chick photos on your Facebook page. Don't do it. Same with photos of your first egg (which some have likened to the arrival of their first child!), or even worse sharing the countdown for your hatching eggs every day for the entire 21-day incubation period.

Just don't do it.

You will slowly find yourself with no friends, because as unbelievable as it may seem to you, they just don't share your excitement. Not even a little bit. I know, it doesn't seem possible, but remember they can't possibly understand because they don't raise chickens.

So instead, set up a separate Facebook page for your chickens, start a blog, join some online chicken forums, create an Instagram feed specifically for this kind of photo. You get the idea. Fine others who WILL appreciate every last chick pic. Birds of a feather...and all that. Trust me on this one, you'll be glad you did and your Facebook friends and family list will remain intact.

Along those same lines, if you are relating the thousandth 'cute' chicken story to your husband over dinner and his eyes start to glaze over, remember that while he may totally appreciate having fresh eggs for breakfast, that doesn't mean he needs a blow-by-blow of your chickens' antics, who laid an egg that day or who has runny green poop.

He's probably just fine not knowing any of that, so save that for your newfound chickens friends as well.

2.) Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Cute as you may think it is when your free-ranging urban flock eats all your cucumbers and tomatoes out of your garden, your neighbor won't think it's nearly as cute.

In fact, they won't think it's cute at all when your chickens start taking dust baths in their lawn, eating their landscaping, pooping on their front porch and scratching up their grass. Not to mention you asking them not to treat their lawn any longer because your chickens might be moseying over to look for bugs.

Bribing them with fresh eggs (the neighbors, not your chickens!) goes a long way, but be a considerate neighbor and put up a fence or build your chickens a pen.  It's safer for them and will help maintain good neighbor relations.

3.) Alarm Clocks were Invented for a Reason

Along those same lines, remember that not everyone finds a crowing rooster charming. Even those who signed up to live in the country didn't necessarily sign up to live next door to a rooster. A rooster that crows. All. Day. Long.

Or even worse, multiple roosters. Of course if you really, really want to have a rooster, try the fresh egg bribe by all means with your neighbors, but if that doesn't work, maybe rethink things and rehome that rooster to keep peace in the neighborhood. Or at least keep him in the coop to muffle the sound until a reasonable hour each morning!

A little consideration goes a long way in this world. Despite the fact that you might have the right to keep chickens, your friends, family and neighbors have the right to not have their lives infiltrated by your chickens!

Of course, they may just fall in love with them as you did, and that's our ultimate goal here isn't it? To turn everyone into a chicken keeper? But until that day, use a little discretion and a lot of consideration...because ultimately that is the best for the urban chicken keeping movement in the long run.
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