OKC urban chicken update

MiaOKCDecember 19, 2013

From KOCO News

Here is a link that might be useful: Urban Chickens

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I don't live in a city, but it sounds like they have it covered. If you have only hens (no crowing), don't overcrowd into unsanitary (like the commercial growers), and keep contained, I have no objections...heck I might even consider it myself.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:53AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I'm happy the urban chicken initiative is progressing so people can have chickens in the city.

I love my country chickens. They are the best garden companions, especially if your tomatoes are protected so they cannot eat them. Our chickens patrol the yard religiously all summer long for grasshoppers and other tasty critters, and I like to let them go into the garden in the winter months so they can dig and scratch and find and eat overwintering insects.

Our chickens are more pet than farm animal, but we do collect and use their eggs. I don't name them like some people do because we have so many and a lot of them are very similar in appearance, but I know the distinctive personalities of the various hens and roosters and a few of them have nicknames I use when talking about them to Tim. Generally I am using their names because they have been misbehaving. Usually our regular-sized rooster, who is a Welsummer and who I usually refer to as 'Big Guy', just ignores the little banty rooster I usually refer to as "Pissant" (exclude my unladylike language), but every now and then the banty offends Big Guy and we have lots of fussing and carrying on as they then attempt to kill each other. I understand Big Guy's frustration, because the little rooster earned his name by attempting to spur me any time I get within 3' of him, and that is how the little guy got his name....because I always was scolding him for trying to spur me, and I'd start out the scolding by saying "You little pissant". There, that's more country chicken info than y'all needed.

I should add that raising urban chickens can be incredibly difficult because there are so many dogs and cats in cities, and they like to climb over or dig under nice backyard fences to reach the chickens in yards. So, anyone who raises city chickens needs to be extra sure their fencing is very sturdy and hard to circumvent. You can train your own dogs and cats to leave your chickens alone, but you cannot do the same with every other dog and cat in your neighborhood.

We mostly raise chickens that lay eggs in shades of brown, olive green and blue. Anyone can buy white or brown eggs, but you cannot buy brown eggs in all the shades of brown we get from our country chickens, and I've never seen green or blue eggs in stores, though I've seen them at Farmer's Markets. I love the fresh flavor and superior nutritional quality of eggs brought in from the chicken coops. The color of their yokes is so much better than those in purchased grocery store eggs. Truthfully, though, I just love my chickens and would have them purely as pets even if they didn't lay eggs, eat insects and provide "stuff" for the compost pile.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Dawn, I used to have chickens too, when I lived up north in Kay County.

Loved the fresh eggs.

Unfortunately my neighborhood association was one of those against urban chickens... but now, I might consider getting me a couple... even though I don't know what to do with them when I leave on bike trips.

Thanks Mia for posting the info.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Sorry to post and run, I was at work and wanted to share before I forgot.

Urban chickens are one of those topics that seems very innocuous but can be really controversial (according to my neighborhood's Facebook group!).

My in-laws have had chickens off and on at their country acreage and they loved them. It was difficult to protect them from predators and they eventually lost them all. They found the chickens a lot like pets and had some that really had great personalities (ha ha, so they claimed - I didn't have much interaction so couldn't vouch for it, but it's similar to what you said, Dawn!)

If roosters aren't allowed but hens are, I can't imagine that they'd be any more irritating than my neighbor's four dogs and their penchant for howling at 7am each and every morning, or at the slightest provocation anytime throughout the day or night.

I think the idea is interesting. I don't know that I'd be able to keep them up, I've got my hands full with the three cats I have now, but having the option might be neat for someday when I'm not so swamped. I don't really like eggs, so it would be one of those things that I'd do just to do for the experience.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 9:11AM
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I've always wanted to keep chickens. They're allowed here in the city and I think quite a few people have them. Our city code is a lot like what's in the article, but there are also guidelines as to how close to other property the coop can be. I don't think they've ever caused problems. This summer one got out and decided to live in the Arby's drive-thru, though. Not where I'd want to hang out if I was a chicken.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 11:56AM
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I wanna have chickens! But the Hubs is afraid I'll put them in the tornado shelter (same reason he won't let me have a donkey).
I know I am citified, so pardon the question:
When you go to get the teeny baby chicks, how do you know which ones are male? (Please do not tell me to flip them over, I did that once and I think they are still laughing)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Moni, Well, you get a chicken sitter. Maybe you could offer free eggs to a neighbor if they will keep an eye on your chickens while you're away.

Leslie, That is too funny. We once had a flock of wild turkeys take up residence at a gas station on the edge of town. Constant traffic and wild turkeys are not a good combination.

Luvabasill, It is easy. Flip the chickens over. If they are wearing tighty-whities, they are guys. If they are wearing cute bikini panties, they are female.

Once the chicks are a little older, you can tell the roosters from the hens quite easily.....the roosters will be the obnoxious ones. (sorry, guys, but it is true)

If you buy your chicks from a reputable supplier with properly trained employees, you should be able to get what you want without having to flip them over to determine their gender. (see the link below) The key thing is that the birds have to be kept separate, so I'd rather buy them from a store that has the different sexes and different varieties of chickens in separate cages or brooder cages. Some stores keep them in open containers, like galvanized metal tubs or plastic wading pools, and in that case, I think it is too easy for all the hens and roosters and various types to get mixed together. In that case, you really have no idea what you are taking home. You have to wait for them to grow and feather out so you can see if you've got the types of chickens that you wanted.

The stores where I buy chicks usually have them separate in different brooders and clearly labeled "pullets" (females that will lay eggs) and "straight run" (a mixture of males and females). Sometimes with very young and tiny chicks you may get a male mixed in with the pullets, but not often. If you buy straight run, you'll get a lot of males and a few females, and the males will spend all their time trying to kill each other so that they can be the #1 male. We never buy straight run unless we want a new rooster. I guarantee you if we buy three from the straight run brooder, at least 2 of them, and sometimes all 3, will be male. You only need (and want) one male if you want to avoid the inevitable Rooster Wars.

Actually, I don't think we have bought new chickens since about 2009 or 2010. Since we have a regular-sized rooster for the full-sized hens and a banty rooster for the banty hens (the banties live in one coop and the regular-size chickens in another), we will let a broody hen hatch out at least one clutch of eggs every year so our little flock is self-sustaining. And, because I know y'all will want to know this....the full-sized rooster has fathered children with the little banty hens, but the banty rooster is unable to father children with the full-sized hens. The full-sized hens can stomp on that little banty rooster (and they will) while he is trying to figure out how to accomplish the deed with hens that are two or three times his height. Those hens know exactly what he is up to, and they don't put up with any nonsense from him.....and neither does the big rooster. When he sees the banty looking at the big hens with a gleam in his eye, the big rooster strolls over to that little banty rooster, doing his best Foghorn Leghorn high-step, and makes it very clear, sometimes painfully clear, to the banty that "you will not touch my hens". Generally, the big rooster only has to make that point once or twice a year. When you are the little rooster, you need to behave, and our little rooster knows it. However, in fairness to the big rooster, when a hawk or other predator threatens, he protects all the hens and the little banty rooster too.

Poultry are great garden companions. They eat lots of bugs (especially ticks and grasshoppers), they scream to alert you if hawks, foxes, bobcats, coyotes or squirrels are nearby, and they provide chicken poop for the compost pile....plus an endless supply of fresh eggs year-round most years. They also devour lots of weed seeds.

If you only want to order a small number of chickens online, check out the website of My Pet Chicken. I think I read somewhere that they sell them in numbers as small as "3" whereas most poultry companies require that buy 25. This is because 25 newborn chicks in a shipping box produce enough heat to keep each other alive while they are being shipped to you.

The link below discusses the one way to "dangle" chickens to determine their gender.


Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken Wisdom

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 9:55PM
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Or you can buy sex-link chicks which you can tell the gender by the coloring of the chick. I was happy with my sex-link chickens. I got one roosters in the group, but if I had been alert, I would have known that he was a rooster because his coloring was wrong.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sex Link Chickens

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Also, and someone may have already alluded to this, never, never, NEVER assume that your chickens will be safe if unprotected at night. One either needs an active protector, like a livestock guardian dog (not practical in urban or suburban settings) or else they need to be completely caged at night, and that with less than 1/2" mesh. There are often more raccoon and other predators in the more populated areas than in the country.

People may live their entire lives without seeing a coyote or raccoon in their urban environment. But, they are probably there. So, you urban poultry people... be ready to REALLY protect your birds. Keep in mind that predators can sometimes slip through a 2" crack in a coop.

I think urban chickens are a GREAT idea, especially for people raising children, but really... for anyone.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:22AM
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