Green Thumb: Backyard chickens

A two-week-old West Asheville native chicken named Pipi photo by Bill Rhodes

Chickens? In the city? Sure, and the top reasons for keeping them, according to backyardchickens.com, are:
1. Chickens are easy, inexpensive pets when compared to most other pets.
2. Hens will produce eggs that are fresh, nutritious, not to mention great tasting. Backyard eggs are also much healthier than their store bought counterparts.
3. They make excellent chemical free pest and weed control.
4. The world's best and friendliest fertilizer.
5. The perfect backyard pet.

Those are the reasons people give. So what does it cost to get into this? How many eggs can I get? For that matter, where do I get a chicken?

Fear not. All of these questions and more are easily answered online, or from one of your neighbors who is already doing it.

As far as costs, you can go as cheap as your imagination. You need a coop, which you can build yourself or buy as taste suits. You need chickens: You can buy full-grown ones or hatchlings (like our little friend here) from lots of places online or in town. As to how many eggs — that depends on a lot of things. Happy chickens lay more eggs. Some breeds of chicken lay more eggs, some less.

With a little research, and some patience, you will find raising chickens in your backyard as easy as growing vegetables.

If you live within the city limits, you need to get a permit from the city see http://www.ashevillenc.gov/portals/0/city-documents/Police/Police_Services/Animal%20Ordinance.pdf.

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