Any tips for city chicken owners?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bellydancer, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. bellydancer

    bellydancer In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2007
    I would just love to hear any tips from city chicken owners. We live in the suburbs of a big city and I know there are other chicken owners in the area-- but they're not on my street.

    Any tips on taking care of city chickens? Obviously they can't "free range" in my back yard because there are stray dogs and cats (and even a possum) who occasionally wander through and would love a tasty feathered meal.

    We evicted our stray cat who lived for years in our shed and our hens are living in a "Chick-n-Coop" with a "Chick-n-Pen" for safe "free ranging".

    Does anyone have any tips-- any tips on ANYTHING-- for happy city chickens?

    Much appreciated![​IMG]
  2. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    There are MANY people on this site who have chickens in city neighborhoods, including yours truly.

    The best advice I can give you is just jump right in and start reading some the threads. You'll get advice on all kinds of subjects, including some things you might never have thought of.

  3. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I am too, a city chicken owner...

    1. See if chickens are allowed in your ordiance, dont take the officer or clerk at the courthouse word for it...sometimes they are not so well informed on certain limitations AND ASK for the copy of your city ordiance on animals and livestock. Take consideration where you will put your coop and what your neighbors will think. Educate them and offer free eggs if you got plenty to spare.

    2. NO ROOSTERS....its a guarantee it will give your neighbors headaches...who wants to be jolted out of bed by a loud crowing at five AM in the morning? You do not need roosters to "make" the hens have eggs...all their purpose is to mate and make more chicks. If you incline to breed your hens because of exceptional quality you want to pass down, take them to the "rooster's farm" and you might pay for stud services, or barter for feed for the farmer or roo owner to care for your pullets and gather the eggs for you to incubate. I have done this and did well on that by sending my best girls to the studly roo at a friends farm from spring to fall and take the girls home in the fall to keep them thru the winter. Either I can keep the girls for the rest of their lives or sell them and keep their babies which the roo owner gladly send eggs to me whenever I need more chicks out of my hens.

    3. Keep your coop CLEAN! And tidy too. Have sheds or coops blend in the neighborhood if you can. Use plenty of lime and DE and rat baits if you have problem with rats. Keep feed in metal containers, not plastic...rats can chew thru it if they are very determined.

    4. LPrivacy fences are a godsend to use it in the area of your coop and put on mesh on top of the runs to keep wild birds out and sometimes helps other varmints out. Predator proof your runs and coops.

    5. Compost does stink and had a complaint so I had to bag them up and have city garbage hauler to take them away.

    6. If raising chicks, it would be best to keep in shed or away from the house. In the basement isnt too bad but it will stink and sometimes allergies if you got a furnance running in the same room as the brooder is. Chicken dander is a problem.

    7. Keep quiet chickens, dont get one that is very vocal or talkative.

    That is all I can think of right now....I am sure others have ideas and suggestions!
  4. eggzettera

    eggzettera Songster

    I live basically in SLC, UT I let mine out every night after work. So far no problems. I went "under the radar" route with my neighbors instead of the "inform & get consent" route.

    When they first went out into their eglu I did come home one night and found that under the "coop" portion had been dug up quite extensively. Not sure if this occured during the day while I was at work or the evening before while I was asleep. (Normally I check on them before going to work but that day I was running late so didn't check.) Anyhow I did not hear anything unusual the night before so the assumption is that it was a neighbors dog that did the digging while I was at work.

    I also think that the dog would not have given up willingly. What I believe happened is that some neighbors dog got into my backyard and that its owner went looking for it and probably heard the ruckus that the dog & chickens would probably be generating, and retrieved their animal. Since dogs are not allowed out without a leash, and he was on my property this neighbor was probably wise enough to realize the liability of having their dog "at large". Since this has happened I have noticed a MARKED improvement on all my neighbors part that they are leashed & not roaming the streets. One of the most "nosy" neighbors is on the neighborhood watch and he saw my chickens one day so he could have also played a factor.....

    My cat has not been a problem and he does not care for other cats on the property so thats not a concern.

    The only thing I worry about is an ACO coming and taking my cockerel (not sure its against the rules but probably) but he is a bantam cochin and his crow is very mellow. I can barely hear it in my house. The only reason I worry about ACO is I "outed" myself with "nosy" neighbor. When he asked if I had chickens (I was there when he initially spyed them) I responded nervously with "Yes do you want eggs? Its allowed if you do not have roosters, unfortunately 1 of the 3 turned out to be a roo even though they were sold to me as pullets......but he is my favorite....." [​IMG] Insert foot here. But that was a couple of weeks ago and so far, (knock on wood) so good.

    The nosy neighbor is a retired mailman, I think he is just glad I no longer have a dog. He did enquire if I was worried about cats (thinking he has one) I said "No, I just worry about dogs"......hey, so far its worked for me.
  5. bellydancer

    bellydancer In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2007
    I was just reading on another board that chickens would be safe enough in the "Chick-n-Pen" during the day. This is basically a cage with no bottom which sits on the ground. It has a wooden frame.

    What do you guys think? I hate for my hens to be all "cooped" up while I'm at work. Which, like everyone now a days, I'm at work A LOT.
  6. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    I keep my chicks in an 8 x 12 chain link fence with hardware cloth buried around the perimeter so nothing can dig under. I only let them free range when I'm home and outside.

    I live 3 minutes from the center of downtown Raleigh, one of the 50 most populous cities in the US and we have

    cats - domestic and feral
    and one neighbor swears he saw a bobcat
  7. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Urban Chicken Raisers Unite:

    Have you read NiftyChick's post about National Public Radio doing a story on urban chickens?

    Here's his post:

    "I received the following email:

    I’m researching a story for National Public Radio on urban chickens. I’m looking for people in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, and other major cities who are raising chickens in their homes, backyards, balconies, etc. Is there anyone at Backyard Chickens who might be able to point me in the right direction?

    Thank you,

    If you are raising chickens in an urban environment you should shoot her an email:

    [email protected]"
  8. bellydancer

    bellydancer In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2007
    I'm an Under the Radar chicken owner, too. My neighbors on one side know and all my friends know, but the rest of my neighbors-- what they don't know won't hurt 'em.
  9. eggzettera

    eggzettera Songster

    I googled Chick-n-pen - does not look at all predator proof.
    I got a eglu

    am not advocating it, just want you to see how the run has a "skirt" along the bottom. I think you would be better off with a dogrun with this type of skirt. Thats assuming you do not want to dig and put wire along the base and then refill with dirt. You would need something along the top of the run to keep hawks and the like out. I believe that hardware cloth or chicken wire is commonly used. On freecycle dog runs are quite common so you could ask and get going fairly cheaply. Just a thought.....
  10. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Songster

    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007

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