by Patricia Foreman

[This is the third in a series of articles by guest author Patricia Foreman. Her previous articles are: The Chicken Have-More Plan and Chickens: The Mascots of the Local Foods Movement]

There are many warm-feathery reasons to keep family flocks, but the most economically and politically compelling reason is to employ chickens to bio-recycle kitchen, garden, and yard “waste”.

Chickens as Solid Waste Management Employees - Feeding city chicks kitchen scraps and creating compost from leaves, yard waste, and chicken manure can divert biomass from landfills and save millions of taxpayer dollars.

But first let’s rethink what “waste” and “trash” are. Many municipalities are adopting a zero-waste goal and policy. Just as the name implies, in a zero-waste system there isn’t any waste. Everything becomes “residuals” that can be recycled into one form or another. Everything has value and is transformed into something else useful. Household food and yard residuals can be bio-recycled and transformed into compost, garden, and top soil.

On average, about 25% of all the “trash” thrown away is biomass. So about 25% of any municipal solid waste management stream could potentially be bio-recycled.

For the rest of this discussion, we are going to call all leftover, uneaten food, leaves, grass clippings, and garden biomass “residuals”. These can be recycled into valuable, local “organic equity”, which is top soil and compost.

Just think about it. Every single leftover piece of pizza and stale bread, used coffee grounds, moldy cheese, desserts, old potato chips, popcorn, food cleaned out from the refrigerator that has “gone by”, and even that old mincemeat cake from last Christmas could be bio-recycled or composted — with help from your chickens.

For more detail about employing clucking civic chicken workers, see my book:
City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers

May the flock be with YOU!

Patricia Foreman

[To read part 2 of this article, see City Chickens Can Save BIG TIME Tax Payer Dollars! (Part 2)]