Based on the proliferation of websites selling everything from rooftop chicken coops to chicken tents to, yes, chicken diapers (keep reading), one would think that chickens have replaced dogs as America's favorite pet. While you might not be looking to replace Fido with an egg-laying friend, a sociable hen might make a good companion for him—and ease your grocery budget at the same time. Raising chickens is easy, they are fun to watch, and the eggs are absolutely delicious. Plus, raising chickens is a great way to reduce the impact of your diet on the environment and recycle your leftovers into some high-quality protein for your table—talk about local!
But before you run out and buy a crate of chickens, there are a few things you should think about:
#1: Is keeping chickens legal where I live?
Urban and suburban areas may have zoning rules about raising chickens that restrict the number you can have. They may require you to get a permit and may prohibit roosters, if they don't ban keeping chickens outright. Get the facts from the municipal office before you get started, and I wouldn’t advertise your intentions before you know which way the wind blows. If chickens as livestock aren’t allowed, you still may want to consider keeping pet chickens indoors. Chickens make interesting pets that like to interact with their human (and canine and feline) family, and they can roam the house if you outfit them with special chicken diapers. That will keep your floors and carpets clean, and also allow you to collect the birds', um, leavings. Chicken manure is a wonderful addition to a compost pile.