7 Myths about Urban Chickens, Myths 4 – 7

by Patricia Foreman

[This article is part of a series, to read the entire series, visit: 7 Myths about Urban Chickens.]

Myth 4. Chickens Attract Predators, Pests & Rodents.

Fact: Predators and rodents are already living in urban areas. Wild bird feeders, pet food, gardens, fish ponds, bird baths, trash waiting to be collected all attract raccoons, foxes, rodents and flies. Modern micro-flock coops, such as chicken tractors arks and other pens are ways of keeping, and managing, family flocks that eliminate concerns about predators, rodents and other pests.

Indeed, chickens are part of the solution to pesky problems. Chickens are voracious carnivores and will seek and eat just about anything that moves including ticks (think Lymes disease), fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, and even mice, baby rats and small snakes.

Myth 5. Property Values Will Decrease.

Fact: there is not one single documented case that we know of about a next door family flock that has decreased the value of real estate. On the contrary, local foods and living green is so fashionable, that some Realtors and home sellers are offering a free chicken coop with every sale. You can see an example of this at www.GreenWayNews.com.

Myth 6. Coops are Ugly.

Fact: micro-flock coop designs can be totally charming, upscale and even whimsical. Some of them are architect designed and cost thousands of dollars. Common design features include blending in with the local architectural style, matching the slope of the roof and complementing color schemes.

Myth 7. What Will Neighbors Think?

Fact: you can’t control what anyone thinks, much less your neighbor. Once folks gain more experience with the advantages and charms of chickens, most prejudice and fear evaporates; especially when you share some of those fresh, heart-healthy, good-for-you eggs from your family flock.

There is one huge advantage to family flocks that is often overlooked during chicken debates. That is their role and value in solid waste management systems. Chickens, as clucking civic workers, are biomass recyclers and can divert tons of organic matter from the trash collection and landfills.

Chickens will eat just about all kitchen “waste”. They love people food, even those “gone-by” leftovers that have seasoned in the refrigerator. Combine their manure with grass clippings, fallen leaves and garden waste, and you create compost. Composting with chicken helpers keeps tons of biomass out of municipal trash collection systems.

All this can save BIG TIME taxpayer dollars, which is especially valuable in these times of stressed municipal budgets.

There is precedence for employing family flocks as part of trash management. It is being done very successfully in some European towns. One example is the town of Deist in Flanders, Belgian. The city buys laying hens to give to residents who want them. The chickens’ job is to divert food waste from the trash stream and not having to be pickup by workers, transported, and then disposed. The savings are significant.

You can learn more about employing family flocks as both civic and garden workers in City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Biomass Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers.

May the flock be with you!

…and to quoth the Chicken: “evermore”.

Patricia Foreman

Patricia Foreman is a Guest Author; ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and are not those of McMurray Hatchery. If you would like to express a different point of view or add additional information please post a comment.

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4 Responses to 7 Myths about Urban Chickens, Myths 4 – 7

  1. John says:

    For how many years will pullets continue to lay eggs? What is the life expectancy of most common breeds?

    • McMurray Staff says:

      Hens can live for 10-12 years, and they can continue to lay for 10-12 years, but as they become older, they won’t lay nearly as frequently as they did when they were in their peak production. Usually egg production peaks when a hen is around 2 years old then gradually and steadily decreases after that.

  2. Julie says:

    Thanks for the positive comments about chickens. I plan on getting some in the near future and have been devouring everything on the subject!

  3. wanda says:

    We had a bobcat momma and her kits come and kill all but 11 of our laying hens. They left no chickens and very few feathers only 2 carcasses and one wing and that was probably a opportunist after the fact. I used my “Story’s Guide to Raising Chickens,” and after deductions, bobcats were the only answer. They tore through the chicken wire like it was wedding veil tulle. This happened in August, and I went and bought one by two inch welded wire, and we put it over the chicken wire with fence staples. My pens are roofed with tin, and they have a run roofed with wire so they can eat grass and hunt for bugs. We mow grass and give them all kinds of garden and kitchen scraps. When they eat the grass in the extra run we sow it with oats or something that will grow quick then turn them out again after it’s grown up again. We ordered another 123 chicks for late February, and I can hardly wait. My next purchase is a night guard light to hopefully keep the predators away. By the way we live in a small rural town, but the bobcats were right in the middle of town, and they have been sighted before. I hope this gives someone else the chance to reinforce before they loose all their hens.

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