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Chickens in the Suburban Backyard

Chickens can live quite happily in a suburban or even urban backyard, providing fresh eggs day in and day out for your family.

Backyard chickens have kind of become a "thing" in the last decade or so in many backyards across the country. 

They've always been a thing on farms, of course, and now are even invading many suburban and urban communities.

But just how practical is it to raise chickens in the suburban backyard?

Well, as it turns out, it's very practical.

In light of recent events, being as self-sufficient as possible is even more important than ever. 

And having the ability to collect fresh eggs from your flock of backyard chickens is about as self-sufficient as it gets!

Eggs are a complete protein, and are versatile enough that they can be made into so many different meals. They pair well with all kinds of meats, cheeses, vegetables and herbs.

They store well, and can be pickled, frozen or salt cured to last even longer. But a fresh egg, left unwashed, will last for several weeks even out at room temperature - and even longer in the refrigerator.

Chickens in the Suburban Backyard

If you're thinking that raising chickens is impossible where you live, consider the following:
  • a chicken doesn't need a rooster in order to lay eggs (and in fact, most suburban areas that allow chickens specifically limit flocks to hens only)
  • a chicken only needs 3-4 square feet of coop space, so your hypothetical flock of 3-4 chickens only needs a coop that is approximately 10-15 square feet - or in other words, about the same size as a dog house
  • a chicken only eats about 1/2 cup of feed a day, so a 50 lb. bag of chicken feed should last your hypothetical flock about 8 weeks (note: feed should always be stored in covered metal pails or containers to keep rodents out)
  • chickens do create a bit of manure (about 1/4 lb./day!) but chicken manure is wonderful composted and applied to flower or vegetable gardens for added calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients that soil needs
  • even in a fenced in urban backyard, chickens are safer in a completely enclosed pen, called a "run", that they stay in during the day while no one is home and that allows 10 square feet per hen, so not really a lot of room - something like a 5 foot x 6 foot area for your hypothetical flock of three

In these uncertain times, I have to say that knowing we will never go hungry as long as we raise chickens is an extremely comforting thought. But there's so much more to raising chickens than the eggs they lay.

Raising your own chickens is not only a huge step in providing fresh, nutritious food for your family in the form of delicious eggs, it also is a wonderful experience for the whole family. 

Chickens are affectionate, quirky, curious creatures who will provide hours of entertainment and relaxation. They eat bugs and weed seeds, they teach children responsibility and empathy, and they provide the opportunity to build or DIY all kinds of projects for them.

Even the smallest urban backyard can benefit from chickens. And all you need to know about raising a happy, healthy flock can be found right here on my blog or in my books!

Note: before diving into your chicken keeping adventure, please be sure to check with your town or municipality to learn about the specific laws and regulations in your area

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