Are you a city dweller who finds yourself yearning for farm fresh eggs? Apparently many New Yorkers are, as indicated by the rise in popularity of urban farmers taking their farms one step further with the addition of chicken coops. Now, many folks skip the farmer’s market and opt for constructing coops right in their backyards – that is, if they have a backyard.
This bucolic, costly, labor-intensive trend is surprisingly legal, and unsurprisingly short lived for many urban chicken farmers, who have learned the hard way that raising chickens in the city can be done, but at the serious expense of everyone involved. Not everyone’s neighbors want to hear squawking hens or smell the inevitable barnyard odors that chicken coops emit. There are permits and laws that make getting started challenging, and once you’ve started the process of raising chickens, it remains a costly endeavor, and one that often doesn’t even allow farmers to break even.
Rural farmers have shown outrage towards urban dwellers that dabble in chicken farming, only to grow tired of the work involved and rid of their chickens after they can no longer produce eggs. After all, chickens have a lifespan that extends far longer than their egg-laying years, something that many people don’t consider when raising baby chicks, a real responsibility that involves years of labor.
For some, raising chickens in the city seems like an idyllic way of life; being able to bring a piece of the country to bustling New York in the midst of the trendy farm-to-table and “locavore” movements has created a an appealing answer in urban chicken farming. It’s important to note that not everyone who raises chickens in the city gives up or loses interest. Many community gardens and individuals find real joy in raising chickens and are able to delight in fresh eggs for years to come, proving something for their community that never seemed possible in an urban setting.
For more information on raising chickens in the city, the legality within that process, and commentary from professional urban farmers, check out this informative article.