We currently live in a town just outside a major city in Alberta and a couple years ago a lady in our town (of 30,000) was ordered to get rid of her 2 hens because a neighbour complained that she had livestock in town. This lady did not go down without a fight and put together a petition to allow her to keep her birds and to convince the town to start a pilot project to allow families to have urban hens. And after a long time, many town council and court appearances later, this lady and her supporters won and a pilot project was started in our town to allow 18 households to have urban hens.
I had been following their progress, helped with their petition and when the pilot project was finally approved we thought it would be a fun thing to do. It was somewhat of a crazy process the things we had to do in order to be allowed 3 hens. We had to apply for the application, get all of our neighbours to approve in writing, take a chicken care course, build a coop to exact measurements and have the coop inspected by a bylaw officer and then once everything was approved we had to pay a license fee for the chickens (much like a dog license). If only they had this process for crazy dog and cat hoarders!
We obviously did a TON of research, found a local breeder and bought a few chicks. My Mother has had 25+ laying hens for many many years but I never really took a real invested interest in them, but once we actually invested time to expand our knowledge in poultry, we were hooked! Our little chicks were so much fun to raise and grew SO quickly which made us understand why they were such a sustainable source for eggs and meat which sent us down the research path to Homesteading.
I have read Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens at least 3 times cover to cover and I am constantly dreaming up my poultry operation once we get on our land. Which is leading my interest in pastured pork, milk goats, permaculture and my interest just keeps expanding farther and farther into the homesteading lifestyle.
Oh the things we will do, but more on our goals and dreams later.
If you are just starting out on this Homesteading path and think chickens would be fun you are in a suburban area, find out if there is an urban hen program and if there isn’t research the steps to start one. We have had our hens just over a year now and regardless if you have never had chickens or even seen a chicken in person before, they are easy and definitely the gateway to this homesteading life. Feel free to message me or leave a comment below if you have any questions about starting out with chickens. I will be doing a whole backyard chicken blog series coming up so feel free to follow me or subscribe to our email list to be notified each time we post.
Until next time, keep your mind open to the endless possibilities in homesteading!