How to raise backyard chickens

It’s been almost two years since Newsweek took note of the “the craze for urban poultry farming,” and the trend doesn’t seem to be abating… more localities are amending livestock laws to allow for raising backyard chickens, and more people are discovering that eggs from chickens living only feet away are far superior to just about anything that comes out of the grocery store.

Thinking about bringing some chicks home to raise? A ton of educational resources have sprung up as this practice becomes more mainstream. Among the many ways you can learn more about the ins and outs of raising poultry in the backyard:

  • Chicken coop tours: These events, in which established urban chicken farmers allow the curious to take a look at their operation, seem to have sprung up around the country. We just missed tours in Salt Lake City,  and Everett and Spokane, WA, but Seattle Tilth’s City Coop Tour is coming up on July 12th.
  • Film and video: The documentary MAD CITY CHICKENS, which tells the story of activists’ efforts to legalize urban chicken farming in Madison, WI, has been making the rounds of festivals and public screenings since 2008. For more practical information on raising chickens, has created a fantastic video.
  • Books: This seems to be a real area of growth for publishers, but many backyard chicken farmers swear by Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens, a 70s classic that’s been re-released in a 3rd edition by NW Trillium Press.
  • Websites: Yep, lots of them, with a number that seem to have ceased publishing (or at least slowed down considerably). A few good ones that are still regularly updated: The City Chicken (which has a great listing of local laws), Mad City Chickens, and Backyard Poulty Magazine‘s site. Of course, state agricultural extension sites can also be helpful.

Got your own favorite resource for raising backyard chickens? Share it with us…


Image credit: Baying Hound at Flickr under a Creative Commons license