Eating Locally: Backyard Chickens
Urban Chickens livin' large. Photo by be_collective via www.backyardchickens.com
Raising chickens in the city makes sense. What even we dubbed as a weird eco habit back in '05 has turned into a movement across North America. Looking at how conventional chickens are raised - in battery cages with arsenic compounds in their feed - should convince any omelet loving eco-urbanite to adopt a couple of birds to produce breakfast in the backyard.
Raising poultry within an urban setting provides eggs, fertilizer, garden help and meat with a minimal environmental footprint. Having suffered decades of disconnection from our food, bringing the farm (and in this case animals) into the city, can provide a much-needed dose of agriculture and food awareness. It's this very disconnection that has allowed for the appalling conditions now found in factory egg and chicken barns.
Municipalities are realizing the potential of backyard livestock and, with appropriate public pressure, are changing local bylaws to allow chickens. (Most bylaws only allow hens as roosters are considered too noisy.) Before you phone city hall check out City Chicken's list of cities that do, or explicitly don't, allow chickens to be raised in the city limits. And while urban coops are easy to build smartly designed coops like the Eglu and the Eglu Cube from Omlet are also available.
We love urban chickens because they promote biodiversity, self-sufficiency, a deeper connection to the food supply, and a reduced foodprint. Bring on the backyard omelet!