City Chickens

Did you know you can keep some chickens in your backyard that will provide you with fresh farm eggs? You don’t even need a noisy rooster because hens will earn their keep and provide eggs for you without a rooster. Chickens can provide you with healthy, home grown eggs and meat, quality nitrogen-rich fertilizer, pest control and even companionship. Surprisingly, chickens can adapt very well to an urban environment. So why not have something around that lays food for you?

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My name is Carmen Simpher. We live in Jackson. Brad (my husband) and I were born and raised here, married 29 years, and raised our kids here. Brad and I have two grown children and a bonus child, Brody, 7 years old. We’ve had backyard chickens for several years.

This is our third set of hens. When they stop laying eggs, we usually give them to people we know that live in the country. The city ordinance does not allow roosters and we did get a baby chick that ended up being a rooster. We are lucky enough to have a wooded area behind our house which makes it very comfortable for the chickens but a bit dangerous with potential predators about.

Start out by calling your local municipality and asking what the laws are in your area. More and more ordinances are available online as well, so it’s worth conducting a search. Since roosters are perceived as noisy, they usually tend to fall under your city’s noise or nuisance ordinances. While hens are normally very quiet, they may still be subject to nuisance ordinances. Check the city code before you get your birds and become attached to them! Some cities limit the number of chickens you can have on a given amount of land. In areas that were recently rural or have a strong farming culture, no law or license may be required to keep chickens.

We currently have 3 chickens. Spring, Carlin and Hennifer. Hennifer is the newest addition and seems to get picked (pecked) on by the other two. We bought them all at Buchheit as baby chicks and I think Spring is a Buffington and Carlin is a Rhode Island Red… not so sure about Hennifer; she looks red and has a few black feathers. Spring and Carlin each lay an egg every day. I am asked a lot about the egg laying. Most people don’t understand how they can lay an egg without a rooster. Just like a female produces eggs so do hens. Without a rooster (daddy chicken) the eggs will not hatch into chicks but make a good breakfast! Our eggs taste very good and are much better than store bought eggs, and our chickens are happy and live a good life, not mass produced in crowded cages.

We have a chicken coop/house with a fenced in area for them to roam. When we are home, we let them “free range” the yard. Sometimes they wander to the neighbors and occasionally up the street! They love live mealworms as a treat (I call it chicken crack!).

I am not a poultry expert. Most of what I learned was via the Internet or asking other chicken lovers. They are very fun to watch and we enjoy having them!

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