Choose the Right Backyard Chickens
The city has many challenges for keeping backyard chickens. Noise, space, time, and lifestyles are but a few factors to take into account for keeping backyard chickens.
Chickens come in many breeds, some more suited for backyard chickens than others.
Chickens come in all kinds of breeds just like dogs and cats. There are big chickens, little chickens, chickens best suited for meat, and chickens that lay lots of eggs. Some chickens are noisy and some are more friendly.
Want to find the best backyard chicken to suit your needs?
The heavier dual purpose breeds are less likely to want to fly. You probably want a backyard chicken that will be calm and relaxed roaming around the average city backyard too. This makes many dual purpose birds a great choice for you.
There are many suitable backyard chickens but most of them fall into the dual purpose chicken class, meaning they are good at laying eggs and good at producing meat for the table. Most backyard chicken keepers won’t be too concerned with the meat part, and many people don’t want to eat their family pet.
If you want a calm friendly backyard chicken that lays eggs I’d wouldn’t suggest the lightweight egg laying breeds. It is true that Leghorns and many other Mediterranean breeds lay LOTS of egg but they are flighty. Imagine having birds that run around scared and fly up over the fence all the time. Not so relaxing. To get the best backyard chicken flock start off with the best-suited chickens.
Orpingtons are a very popular backyard chicken, lay well, and are friendly and quiet. They take longer to mature and eat a little more feed than the flighty Leghorns. They do well in smaller areas and prefer to keep their feet on the ground instead of flying. Orpingtons come in many colors like black, blue, and lavender but the all time favorite is the buff Orpington. You can expect up to 180 eggs a year from the Orpington chicken breed.
The Plymouth Rock breed is a popular breed among urban poultry fanciers. The Barred Rock is one of the most popular chicken breeds kept. Plymouth Rocks sport some variety in their colors too with Columbian and Silver Penciled being beautiful backyard chickens. 200 eggs a year is what you should expect from this backyard breed of chicken.
A Deleware chicken lays about 150 to 200 large brown eggs a year. While they lay slightly less than some of the other backyard chickens they tend to lay into winter time much better. Most chicken breeds slow down severely in the winter but not the Delaware chicken. Another bonus for the Deleware chicken is they mature earlier, so this means they lay eggs earlier than many other comparable breeds.
Do some research before you get a breed of backyard chickens. Do you like running around the neighborhood chasing them with a net? Most dual purpose breeds make excellent backyard chickens. It’s typically what they were bred for, to roam around the small lot eating bugs and laying eggs. Most backyard chicken keepers don’t utilize their chickens for meat but the Deleware chicken also makes a good fryer at cockerel age.
Many people do not get chickens in an urban lot because they think they will stink. If you have a dog and do not pick up after it there will be stink too. Cleaning and replacing the bedding when needed will ensure that you don’t have stinky chickens. A common backyard chicken method is to use a portable lightweight chicken tractor. Chicken tractors can be moved around easily to give your backyard chicken new grass every day.
Keeping your backyard chicken coop away from the property line is a big consideration for your neighbors. Some cities have an ordinance about how far away from the property line you can keep your chickens.
A side perk of having backyard chickens is having a nitrogen rich compost handy. Those that keep their chickens on wire floors in coops can add grass clippings and other compostable material in layers below the cage. When the time comes to clean under the coop it can be added to the compost pile or bin after some mixing. Composted chicken manure doesn’t stink. If composted properly it has a rich earthy smell. Instead of using chemical fertilizer to grow your garden use chicken compost to nurture the soil in the spring.
A well-managed and cared for backyard flock will create a fresh and healthy supply of eggs. Backyard chickens will reduce your garbage waste (by feeding your chickens and converting those trimmings into eggs), weed and bug proof your lawn, fertilize and thatch your lawn, and provide you the companionship of an intelligent animal. When the right backyard chicken breed is selected you and the chicken benefit.