Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

City Chickens

We live in rural area on waterfront property on a small, dead-end road with about 20 other families which basically forms a very small, tight-knit community. We have neighbours on both sides but none to the front or back. Most here have vegetable gardens but there are a few that don't. This spring one of the families set up things to raise chickens. Now if you were to see the location and the houses, chickens are definitely not something you would expect. Yes it is rural and I can easily walk to a cattle farm, this road is not that kind of rural if you know what I mean. So I have been watching to see how their experiment would work. It has been such a success others are talking of getting chickens and I'm considering it myself.

The city of Toronto, Ontario also considering allowing residents to keep chickens in their backyards. This is growing trend in many urban areas with several larger centres in Ontario already allowing this. Why? Community leaders are viewing raising chickens in the backyard as a way for people to help themselves. The chickens are generally for egg laying purposes only depending on the gardener. The eggs are an inexpensive protein that stretches food resources in trying times. They also reason that those keeping chickens will also keep small gardens to further help themselves promoting self-sufficiency that reduces the reliance on city food banks. The chickens are viewed as pets. They are quite quiet and definitely a lot less obnoxious than a dog that incessantly barks. They don't smell either. Sue raises 9 chickens for egg laying purposes in the suburbs of a large mid-Western city.

When Sue's chickens are laying she can expect anywhere from 9 to 18 eggs per day. On the low end that works out to 5¼ dozen eggs per week. Our eggs are averaging $2.50 per dozen so that is a savings for her family of $13 less any chicken feed per week assuming she uses that many eggs. What this will enable her to do is generate a small income from her chickens if she so desires or share her eggs with family and friends. So essentially growing your own eggs makes good economic sense but it gets better. Chickens are ideal for insect control and their droppings are great for adding nutrients to your garden so they are a gardeners dream in that respect. However, they will literally destroy your garden digging and scratching in their quest for insects so it is best to keep the chickens in chicken runs or portable chicken tractors. Chicken runs will also protect your chickens from any predators that may be in the area such as neighbourhood cats or dogs. When the garden is fallow the chickens can be allowed to free range but should still be protected from predators.

I plan to do a bit of research on raising chickens over the winter then start with 4 possibly 5 chickens in the spring. This should be a fun adventure!

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


  1. backyardchickens dot com

    you will glean so much information hanging around the forums, that you won't believe it!

  2. Thanks Jaydee :) I have bookmarked the site so will get busy reading.


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