Backyard chicken checklist

eggsThe rise of the local food movement has also increased urban interest in growing food in the city. Generally, this means a small garden or some planters for tomatoes, carrots, some herbs and the like. But for some more adventurous types, this drive to “grow your own” also includes eggs – and it’s not as easy to care for chickens as you might think.

It’s true that there was a time when most urban folks did have a small chicken coop out back where they kept a few feathered friends for eggs…and ultimately also for the roasting pan or the soup pot. But this has long disappeared from our urban landscape; in fact, it is actually against city bylaws in many municipalities to have backyard birds.

And even if you do live in a town or city where urban chickens are permitted, there’s more to responsible chicken raising than meets the eye. I came across a neat “urban egg farmer top ten chore list” that I think should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking about keeping a few hens for ultra-local eggs.

eggfarmersThe checklist was prepared by a poultry veterinarian for the Egg Farmers of Ontario – and is posted on the “Let’s talk farm animals” blog, run by several farm animal councils, organizations dedicated to responsible farm animal care.

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