Lately I have been thinking about getting a couple chickens for the backyard. I first got the idea when I read this article in the NY Times a year ago.
There is a city chicken club here in Rochester that I could join. I even found this really cool chicken coop online called Chicken Heaven. Aaron hasn't been completely on board with the plan though.
Chickens are the most fun! It's not a huge time commitment. I built a coop this spring and have 8 poulets (they don't become hens until their a year old). They started laying eggs in August. Once you've had fresh eggs from your own chickens, it's hard to eat anything else. If you're looking for suggestions or resources I would happy to offer any information. Go for it!
Also might be worth having a look at the Eglu. We went to a wonderful Eglu chicken-keeping demonstration a month or two ago and are thinking of getting one for our allotment. We already have three friends with Eglus who say they're super! K x
Backyard chickens are so much fun. We used the plans from this website to build our chicken coop:http://www.ubuilderplans.com/?q=node/5They are the best plans we found - very detailed. Our chickens - Lola, Frieda, and Sparky - send their greetings! (They are Buff Orpingtons. Very peaceful and docile, beautiful, and big time egg layers!)
My coworker had always wanted chickens and this year got some and since I had saved some egg cartons for her, she gave my parents and I two dozen eggs - so delicious!
I highly recommend keeping chickens. They are so social (never keep just 1), and each have their own personalities. I had cochins (minis) and they helped me in the garden, sat in my lap/shoulders/head.They aren't effortless, but I do think they're worth it.
(my name links to my chicken photos!)
Chickens have way more personality than you would think.
I second the Eglu house!http://www.omlet.us/homepage/homepage.php
A friend of mine has chickens and ducks. They do take work - but she gets lot of eggs and loves them chickens to bits! She even takes them in the car with her sometimes and brings them to our annual Humane Society 'walk for the animals'. You better believe she gets lots of attention walking around with a chicken!
We had a chicken wander into our backyard about 6 months ago - seriously. And we live in surburban Melbourne (Australia). Quite young and so very gorgeous. Would eat from our hand, and jump onto our lap if we didn't produce food fast enough!!! Decided to move in with us, since clearly we were suckers!!Liked to sleep on our kitchen window sill and peck on the window while we cooked. And chat with us.We loved it. I loved it most.Until ... HE crowed. And once he started, that was it - there was not stopping him. Morning, noon and night. First few times were cute and funny since he didn't realise it was him making the noise. But neighbours aren't keen on that.Make sure you get chicks not roosters!!!But they are great fun. I really miss him. I never could have imagined that a chicken would have such a personality.
My brother has 3 chickens. They're full of personality. But if you get them, you better love eggs.
Just make sure your city ordinances permit them before you spend the money!I had chickens growing up. They do take work. I also had a pet duck. :) I loved my pet duck best as she swam in the tub. We used our chickens for eggs AND meat (but more often eggs).I second the rooster commenter-- no roosters! Your neighbors will kill you! :)
Chickens are fun. We get lots of eggs, and I really enjoyed watching them the first year or two. However, I have to third the "no roosters" tip! They were so beautiful that we couldn't resist buying a few, plus a few of the chicks we raised ending up being roosters too, even though they were supposedly sexed. They're beautiful to look at but SO NOISY. Some of them also turned aggressive, and it's kind of scary going to collect eggs when you have a territorial rooster coming at you- they're surprisingly fierce. Hens are great, though.
LA Times just ran a story abouto chickens as pets. http://www.latimes.com/features/printedition/home/la-hm-chickens6-2008dec06,0,3638014.story