suburban chickens?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by obsessed, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. obsessed

    obsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 3, 2008
    Slidell, LA
    I am a newbie. I am planning (for like two years) my suburban flock. I would like some advice from the suburban keepers here. Things like the noise, smell, the neighbors, set ups, breeds. Anything. I have read most of the posts ( for two years) but still don't feel ready to take the plunge [​IMG].
  2. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    We let our neighbors know that the girls were coming (after checking to see that we were zoned for such things). I was expecting very negative reactions but got stories of how they, their grandparent, neighbors, friends, etc. had chickens and how much they enjoyed them. I will say that we do not have a rooster and disappointment for this lack has been expressed by most of my neighbors, but not all. They make regular trips over to visit the girls and laugh at them when they "run". A few of our neighbors think we are a little crazy to have the chickens, but as long as it does not affect them, they do not mind. They often comment on how they like hearing the chicken cackle, which is good because one of them walks around talking to herself all day.

    We compost everything we can, including the litter from the henhouse. There is no real smell that last very long (depending on what we find in the back of fridge).

    That is our experience. I will post more if something occurs to me.

    Enjoy your chickens!
  3. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2008
    I live on 1.7 acres in a township. My recommendation would be to start small. I ordered 30(!) chicks, which was just insane. I researched keeping chickens, but not hatcheries. So I thought I could not get a small order. I now have 24 birds (got rid of some roos) in a 12x14 building with a 12x30 run. They have plenty of room and are thriving. HOWEVER, the sheer number makes them alot of work. I am raking poo every day and the coop does smell. Others will say that a clean coop does not smell, but there is an odor. I am doing all this work and fear that I will be overrun with eggs in coming months.
    I would hesitate to downsize because DD is so taken with all of them... (sigh).
    We have two roosters and our neighbors LOVE the sound of their crowing - go figure!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  4. newchickenfamily

    newchickenfamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    We are totally suburban. We have a nice sized lot (not postage stamp size) but do have neighbors on all sides.

    We're not zoned for chickens, I called and checked. The town ordinance guy said he didn't care as long as all of our neighbors are OK with it. If he receives a complaint, they will have to go. Neighbors said OK. So far, so good. [​IMG]

    We went with 3 hens. Got a Chick N Barn & Chick N Yard. A bit expensive, but that's what we chose. NO SMELL! I keep a deep layer of pine shavings in their barn and stir once in awhile and add more from time to time. Before the rain hits, I'll rake it out, compost it, and add brand new litter. Their run has peat moss over dirt. They free range during the day. No trouble with flies so far. We've had them outside since June.

    Like BayCityBabe said, start small.

    Good luck, they are fun!!
  5. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    No problems thus far. The worst thing is the flies, which I'm trying to get rid of. They're awful.

    Noise? My girls are fairly quiet, though the banty cochin can be pretty funny with her buk buk BUKAWK when she can'd find the 3 others.

    Smell? None so far. Winter shoudl be fun, but everyone will be indoors. My coop is right next to where our neighbors smoke. If we don't complain about their smoke, maybe they won't complain about our chickens. We do plan to provide eggs once we've got enough for ourselves.

    Breeds? I got 1 each of barred plymouth rock, black sex-linked, and RIR to see what I like. Not laying yet so I can't say who is the best there, but the sex-lnk has the best personality.

    Hardest thing for us was to figure out where to put the coop and then to build it. It cost around $300 for all the materials.
  6. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Totally suburban here as well, the commuter rail is at the end of of our street. We have three hens (1 A.Lorp, 1 EE and 1 BO), and in our town you can have as many as 10 on lots less than 40,000sq. feet. A chicken permit is $10 a year. No roosters allowed. We have neighbors on only one side and they have not said a word. Our friends think its kind of strange/intriguing that we have chickens, but all of my kids friends think its pretty cool. Its been a sure-fire conversation starter at parties.

    Our three really make no noise at all. Three hens are very easy to manage, we built a Playhouse Coop and its perfect for a tiny backyard suburban flock. In the coop we use a 2-3 inch layer of pine shavings and change it every week. In the run we scrap up the poo every week and add a fresh layer of 50/50 dirt and stone dust. We use DE weekly in the coop and run. Poo goes on the compost heap. There have been no flies.

    Our criteria for breed selection was winter hardiness, a tolerance for confinement and egglaying ability. The biggest challenges were building the coop and finding a feed store!

    Both my husband and I work full time and our kids have a typcially busy schedule. Chickens have turned out to be the perfect pet. We're really happy we have them!

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    We are suburban also. We have a decent sized yard for So. California so they do have some room to roam (when the dogs aren't out). We have two coops right now, but as soon as our landscaping is done, I have plans to build one larger coop too keep all six in and keep the larger of the two we are using right now as a brooder.

    I change the pine shavings in their coops at least once a week, more often if it seems to need it. We haven't noticed any smell at all, unless you stick your head right in the coop the day it is being changed.

    We have one girl who tends to be a little loud in the mornings as she is getting ready to lay her egg (don't know if the others will be equally noisy since she is the only one laying so far). Our neighbors mentioned one day that they thought we had a rooster, but it was just in passing, they didn't seem bothered. I figure if everyone can put up with the dogs across the street barking at all hours of the night, they can put up with some extra clucking from my yard in the morning.

    Here are pictures of our current set-up. No run yet. That will be put in after our landscaping is done (we start on Tuesday!!!). The girls have free run of the yard for a good part of each day. The only time they aren't allowed out is when we have to be gone and the dogs have to be out. We don't allow the dogs to be unsupervised with the chickens just in case.

    The two coops:

    Part of our backyard (trying to show size). Don't mind all the stuff, it all belonged to the previous resident:
  8. KristaChickenWhisperer

    KristaChickenWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2008
    Lake Stevens, WA
    Depending on where you live, I heard that Chickens are now considered "Suburban pets." I am not sure if that goes by state or what. I am guessing it does.

    Where I live, that is the case. But all my neighbors do know I own chickens and have never complained. In fact, some of my neighbors like to come to visit my small flock.

    As for smell, the only problem I have ever encountered with a huge smell is when it rains a lot, and causes a muddy mess. I usually use large amounts of straw in the winter to prevent that, and it seems to work just fine. And the chickens love to dig through it to look for bugs. [​IMG]

    Good luck, and have fun!
  9. KristaChickenWhisperer

    KristaChickenWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2008
    Lake Stevens, WA

    Your coop is amazing! I love it! Great design!
  10. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    It serves the purpose at least. The best part is that it was built almost entirely out of previously-used or leftover materials. My new one that I am going to build is going to be all pretty, at least that is my hope. I'm not a handy person (dh built the larger of our two current coops), so it will probably end up lopsided and drafty, but I am going to try!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by