Pasturing chickens on city lot?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by momofpets, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. momofpets

    momofpets Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2011
    Anyone here live on a city lot and pasture their chickens in the front yard? I know, odd question, but I am a city girl with aspirations of having a farm. Unfortunately I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and a city lot is all I can afford. I contacted my code enforcement person and he said that I can have them in a poultry tractor in my front yard as long as it does not become a nuisance. I was thinking of pasturing my meaties. There will only be 16 of them. But I ordered straight run and I am hoping they don't start crowing before hitting freezer camp. The area in my front yard that I am thinking of tractoring them is 35 x 25 ft. I have a ton of fruit trees and shrubs in the front yard and the poultry tractor would not be noticeable because it would kind of fit in with my raised garden beds. Would 16 cornish rocks make enough noise so that people walking buy would notice? Would the smell be bad? I was planning on moving the tractor daily and putting lime and wood chips on the area they just vacated. Suggestions? Is this a bad idea?
  2. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    My only thought is you would need a big tractor for for that many chickens. I have a tractor that I use that is an 8'x4' footprint and I have 3 chickens in it and at most I would put 5 in it. The smell is not a problem at least with mine, on grass you do need to move the tractor every day or two though. I don't know that type of bird or how loud they get. I know that my chickens can get pretty chatty.
  3. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I think that is way too many chickens for a city environment if your neighbors are close or your house is close. You would have to clean it every day to not smell it if you are within 30-40' of the chickens. I would recommend starting out with an oversized tractor and just a small number of birds. 3-5 is plenty to start out with. You can add more if it feels right. Chickens can be very noisy, I can't imagine having 16 chickens in the city. I now have 6 and have had up to 8 in my 6' x 20' coop/run set up, it is plenty of space for them but they are NOISY sometimes.
  4. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    Even my three in my backyard get so loud at times I worry I'm going to get someone complaining. I live in a rural town, but in town on a 1/5 acre lot.
  5. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Meaties produce a lot of "fertilizer". I can't imagine 16 in a tractor and add to that what 16 would do to your lawn in just one day. One would think all that "fertilizer" would help the grass grow, but not so much. I have a spot in my lawn where I left my portable coup for 1 week last year and the grass still has not complete come back in that area. My suggestion would be to start with less meaties or maybe no meaties at all and just get layers (less poo).
  6. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I think 3 hens is your max,but even then loose stool will attract flies resulting in complaints. Then there is the issue of people/pets harming them.All you can do is try and adjust the situation as needed.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    16 is a lot of chickens. And I don't think it will be the noise, I think it will be the smell, and the flies that will be the problem. Very experienced poulterers have complained about the smell of meaties.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  8. beanjean

    beanjean New Egg

    Jun 3, 2011
    Andy Lee in his book Chicken Tractors talks about (if my memory is correct) raising 25 birds in a tractor. He says it's a bit crowded at the end, but it works fine.

    I began my chicken adventures YEARS back based on his book. His advice has always served me well. In fact, my original tractor built from the plans in his book is still serving me well as my (currently) 5 hens/4 pullets summer home.

    I'd probably go for the deep litter method over an existing or future planting bed instead of moving the tractor frequently.
  9. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    The question isn't so much of chickens in the front yard - it's the 2-legged predators that'll 'help' your chickens. Unless you're well fenced, know that some well meaning person will likely 'help' your chickens by either feeding them or 'playing' with them. It'll likely be a child or a small group of children.

    Yes, the smell is bad. Yes, the flies are awful! Yes, they're noisy - roosters can start crowing as early as 4wks old! Yes, they grow SO FAST! I still cannot believe how fast my little fuzzy tushies got to be full fledged chickens! Being that close to the street, what kind of polution are they going to be getting from street traffic? Carbon monoxide is deadly to birds much faster than any other critter due to their increased aspiration rate. Be cautious when planning their location!

    Consider predators too....rats, racoons, cats, dogs, mice,'ve got more than you think you do! A fort-knox kind of tractor is what is required for you to keep the rats from reaching in and getting your birds.

    I think it could be done, and done well. But 16 might be a bit much on that size lot in that environment. Freezer camp might not be early enough for straight run - you might need to be a bit more selective in your ordering to get 'guaranteed' pullets. (costs more, but more likely to have success)

    And make sure you've got a printed copy of the city code handy. You'll be getting LOTS of questions I'm thinking! (I do and I'm 26miles from Chicago!)
    Good luck! It's fun! It's a lot of work though to protect 'em!
  10. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    I have 8 in a 5x10 tractor,coop over run, and its crowded. Smell is not a problem I clean coop about every 2 wks. building a larger permanent coop. I move the tractor every 3rd day and the grass is pretty much knocked down....but comes back a much darker green color.

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