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Follow our adventures as we raise a tiny flock of chickens in suburban Bexley, Ohio.
Our chicken bloggers include Tami Taylor, a Welsummer, and Tyra, a Jersey Giant.
RIP, Betty, Joan, Sally & Peggy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Common myths & facts about backyard chickens

“Chickens suffer from a PR problem. People think they are dirty, noisy and smelly. The truth, a few cared for hens are cleaner and quieter than one big dog or the three neighborhood cats that poop in the flower bed. Plus you get eggs...” The Wall Street Journal

Myth: Chickens are noisy.
Facts: The main rule for keeping urban chickens is “no roosters allowed.” Hens do not make a ruckus in the morning like their male counterparts and they are fast asleep in their coop by the time the sun goes down. (Hens do lay eggs without the aid of a rooster. Roosters are only needed if you want to have fertilized eggs for baby chicks.) Hens make a soft clucking noise that is less noisy than a barking dog or even a yowling cat.

Myth: Chickens are messy and smelly.
Facts: Chickens themselves do not smell. This is a fact. It is only their feces that has the potential to smell which is also true of feces from dogs, cats, rabbits or any other animal that is outside. According to the US Poultry & Egg Association, a hen produces .04 lbs of litter per day (manure + wood shavings). According to FDA, an average dog generates 3/4 of a pound of manure a day. That's about 18 hens to do the "business" of one dog. And dog manure should not be composted, whereas chicken manure becomes excellent compost!
The reason people fear an odor problem is because their only experience with chickens, if they have any at all, is on a farm or commercial poultry operation. Under these circumstances, hundreds if not thousands of chickens are sometimes kept in crowded conditions with poor ventilation and without proper cleaning. As a result, these facilities can stink. There is a huge difference between these environments and the the very popular and rapidly growing hen movement. A backyard chicken coop housing half a dozen chickens does not create the odor issue that may concern some residents.

Myth: Chickens attract rodents/predators.
Facts: The truth is that rodents already exist in Bexley and are attracted to any unprotected food source like bird seed, dog food, cat food, open trash cans, fruit trees, and even koi ponds. There are preventative measures (chicken feed containers and coop designs) to nearly eliminate this concern.

Myth: Backyard chickens will decrease property value.
Facts: There is absolutely no evidence that keeping pet hens within sensible ordinance guidelines would have any affect on property values. If property values decreased with backyard chicken keeping, why would major cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Madison, WI, Denver, not to mention Columbus, support backyard chicken keeping?
Urban chicken keepers, like all good pet owners, are concerned about how their chickens might be affecting their neighborhood. They want their chickens to be a positive experience for everyone and they make an effort to keep an open dialog with their immediate neighbors to ensure any concerns or issues are addressed. Chickens can be kept in a yard so inconspicuously, that it may not be apparent that chickens are even around. There are eggs to share, and a chicken coop in the neighborhood can actually be a conversation starter, and thus it can enhance a neighborhood community.

Come see our coops, meet our chickens, and ask questions!

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