raising chickens

The Nickel Pincher: Do You Have What It Takes to Raise Chickens?

Owning chickens may seem like a fun trend, but you need to keep a few things in mind before you jump on board.

Based on the proliferation of websites selling everything from rooftop chicken coops to chicken tents to, yes, chicken diapers (keep reading), one would think that chickens have replaced dogs as America's favorite pet. While you might not be looking to replace Fido with an egg-laying friend, a sociable hen might make a good companion for him—and ease your grocery budget at the same time. Raising chickens is easy, they are fun to watch, and the eggs are absolutely delicious. Plus, raising chickens is a great way to reduce the impact of your diet on the environment and recycle your leftovers into some high-quality protein for your table—talk about local!

But before you run out and buy a crate of chickens, there are a few things you should think about:

#1: Is keeping chickens legal where I live?
Urban and suburban areas may have zoning rules about raising chickens that restrict the number you can have. They may require you to get a permit and may prohibit roosters, if they don't ban keeping chickens outright. Get the facts from the municipal office before you get started, and I wouldn’t advertise your intentions before you know which way the wind blows. If chickens as livestock aren’t allowed, you still may want to consider keeping pet chickens indoors. Chickens make interesting pets that like to interact with their human (and canine and feline) family, and they can roam the house if you outfit them with special chicken diapers. That will keep your floors and carpets clean, and also allow you to collect the birds', um, leavings. Chicken manure is a wonderful addition to a compost pile.

Published on: September 16, 2009
Updated on: January 30, 2013

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What a delightful tale

What a delightful tale. Oh and diapers for chickens, well why not? I am not certain the chicks would like it but gee, if it means that they have a healthy and almost free existence then why not!


I have l4 hens and they are in 2 basic different groups. I have one awesome chicken coupe for the majority. I have 5 large chickens that have spent the summer free range, coming in at night to a horse stall. It gets very cold here, zero and below at times. I am concerned about keeping them warm enough, as well as safe enough. I have plenty of space in my basement and am wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to set them up comfortably indoors. We have had one chicken indoors for months at a time, but never 5! Any ideas/input would be appreciated. Cleanliness for me and comfort for them is extremely important. THANKYOUru


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