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Backyard Chicken Keeping

Video: Chickens in the City!

Backyard Chicken Keeping Regains Popularity!

Not so long ago, most American households raised their own chickens.  As our lifestyles became more "metropolitan", unfortunately most families lost this connection to these beloved birds.  Many residents are surprised to learn that the keeping of chickens is quite legal in many Bay Area communities, including St. Petersburg.  In fact keeping chickens is allowed in many large cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Portland; so why should St. Pete be any different?!

Of course there are rules, such as No Roosters (they crow, and are not necessary for female chickens to lay eggs), they cannot be allowed to roam free, enclosures must be kept clean, etc.  Still, the keeping of a few laying hens has become increasingly popular in Tampa Bay, and across the nation; and there are many great reasons for keeping a few chickens.

From the perspective of gardening, chickens are a great resource.  They will eat much of your garden waste (and household vegetable scraps, etc), as well as insects and weeds in the garden.  They also produce some of the best organic fertilizer available!  But beyond the gardening benefits, chickens have so much to offer.

Chickens require very little room.  They are inexpensive to maintain.  Each hen will produce an egg, almost every day, and the eggs are so much better than store bought eggs.  Since the owner determines the diet of the birds, the eggs can be completely organic, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, etc.  And the quality of life of a chicken in your garden is so much more humane than that of a chicken used for commercial egg production. 

The best part of chicken keeping, for many people, is the fact that chickens are endlessly entertaining and affectionate.  There are many breeds from which to choose, and some of the breeds are extraordinarily attractive! 
To learn more about keeping chickens in your garden, please join Brock Wood at Sunken Gardens, Saturday, August 6, at 11:30am.  The program is free with admission $8 adults, $6 seniors (55+), $4 children (2-11) and free for members.  Sunken Gardens is located at 1825 Fourth Street North, St. Petersburg.

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