Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are You an Urban Chick?

Here's your chance to act like a farmer in the city! Think it's ridiculous or out of the question? Stare at this picture long enough and you may decide it is worth it.  I went to a talk last weekend on raising chickens in the city. Apparently, this is a growing trend in the quest to become more sustainable and self sufficient in our food choices. Raising chickens in your backyard also reduces transportation costs for shipping eggs from large factories and cuts back on travel time to and from the grocery store. Nowhere is this urban farming trend more apparent then in Seattle. It is estimated that there are 1,000 chicken coops around the city. Fresh eggs are a healthy and excellent food source. Depending on a hen's diet, eggs from home-raised chickens have stronger shells, brighter, richer yolks and higher levels of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids than their commercial counterparts. Most people living in the city raise chickens for their eggs and love their chickens like pets.  
It is fairly simple to get started. If you have an enclosed yard you will also need to build a chicken coop, buy chicks, and provide them with food and water. Chickens do not require a rooster to lay eggs and they quietly cluck around the yard eating pests in your garden and providing fertilizer to your plants. They will eat about anything, so if you decide to buy your own city chickens, it is important that you protect your prize plants so they don't get torn to shreds! Each chicken will lay about one egg per day. 
There are numerous resources to help you get started. If you live in the Puget Sound region, Seattle Tilth offers classes on how to raise chickens and is hosting a City Chickens Coop Tour in July. For those of you living in the Portland area, you can attend the Tour de Coops, also in July, where you can hear and see first hand how to become an urban chicken farmer! Personally, I would be all over this if I had a backyard of my own but for now I will tend to my patio herbs and hummingbird feeder.


  1. I want to be an urban chick!!!!! So cool. I think I am going to have to get some chickens someday, just to try it out.