feasibility of meat birds

Urban Chaos

8 Years
Feb 9, 2011
Hi all,

on 1/3 acre city lot, is it practical for a family of 5 to raise meat birds? We eat probably 2 (store bought) chickens a week, so I was hoping to work it where I could rotate birds from an indoor brooder to a smallish coop until I have a nice stock of birds in the deep freezer. We process all our game at home, so that part of the equation is not an issue.

If you are in Austin, you might check this out. I see there are two entries. I'd probably call the city clerk and ask to talk to the animal control officer just to be sure I was aware of any restrictions. These entries might be out of date.


I get 1/3 acre means about a 100' x 140' lot, somewhere around there. Meaties produce a lot of poop. If you can manage that poop to where it does not stink, I think you can do it. Other than possible legal restrictions, I think poop management wil be your biggest issue.

Good luck!
Chickens are legal in Austin, I'm just wondering on how realistic it is to try and manage a meat flock in a backyard. Space is an issue between garden beds and egg-layer coop.
So you're consuming about 104 chickens a year. I'm assuming 1/3 acre lot is your entire property, so my guess is that you have about 1/10 available free space or less after house, hen coop, shed, ect is factored out. That is about 4,356 sq feet available.There are several things I can think of that can be used with that space.

1. build a small coop and let 20, 50, or even a hundred roam your space. However, meaties are not self motivated. they will sit in their corner of the yard (where all the comforts of home are), stack up the poop, kill the grass, and smell, but not a problem if you don't mind those things.

2. build a chicken tractor and rotate your flock every day. 2 sq ft per bird should be plenty of room. if you raised 100 at once then you need a tractor that is about 14x14 ft. Or break the group up into two 8 week intervals; 50 in april-may then 50 more during two months of mild weather. the shelter size for 50 would be 10x10'. Even if you raised 100 on a 1/10 acre with a 14x14' tractor, you would make a complete rotation in 2 weeks, giving your lawn or whatever time to recover for another two week rotation, but i would recommend 50 or less birds at a time just for the sake of time for butchering, less space required, lighter tractor, and more time for the ground to recover.

So when you say feasible, your're asking if it is likely or convenient. In my opinion, 100 birds on a plot of land as small as 1/10 acre is "likely" without compromising the health of the birds, but may not be easy unless you have a lot of hands or a lot of experience. However if you raised 100 at once, you deal with 8 weeks of poop, smell, and labor, a couple days butchering then your done for the year--convenience. I would break up 8 week intervals of the warmer months of the year raise about 20-40 at a time before plunging into large numbers. You get a flow of fresh meat that way anyway.

practicality is another topic. Sometimes it seems more practical to buy chicken from a grocery store that was fed grain that was produced below the cost of production in order to drive the price down of the end product. its also conveniently available any time of the year, and all of the hard work is done, but you don't get the quality that is associated with home made foods. backyard flocks are rarely practical, but are extremely satisfying.

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