Who Wants to Raise City Chickens With Me?
All right, all you city slickers. It's time to stop jabbering about local and sustainable food. After reading the New York Times story about urban chicken raising (I don't think raising three chickens on a fire escape qualifies as farming), it's time for all of us to put our money where our mouths are by eating eggs and even chicken we've raised in our apartments.
How do we go about this seemingly insane task?
Don't worry. We're not going to go it alone like Manny Howard seemed to have done in New York magazine. Plus, he's got a backyard. I have a back window with no ledge.
We're going to get help from many sources.
First things first. Find out if it's legal to raise chickens in your city. Amazingly enough, chickens are allowed in New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. Apparently it is legal in most cities to raise hens but not roosters. Something about the infernal racket of roosters crowing. Could that be louder than the garbage trucks that come by my apartment twice a week? I don't think so. Bostonians are out of luck. Keeping chickens is banned there. Aren't the Red Sox themselves laying an egg lately? But I digress.
First I'm going to buy a book, Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces, by Barbara Kilarski.
Then I am going to get a subscription to Backyard Poultry magazine. It has regular stories with titles like "Chickens in the City."
I just thought of something. I don't have a terrace, a fire escape, or even a balcony, and I don't think my wife will want me raising chickens in my tiny home office. I have two choices. I can call my friends with a penthouse apartment and see if they'll let me raise my chickens up there. In the past they've let me brine my Thanksgiving turkeys at their place, so I know they're poultry-friendly.
Or I can do what city dwellers turned would-be chicken farmers have done for time immemorial: call my building's superintendent. He fixed my television last week, so he must know how to raise chickens, too.