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Legalizing Chicken Hens 
Pioneering A Journey Towards Self-Sufficiency  
Revised: 2-17


The Backyard Chicken Hen 
Written By Victor Alfieri, editor woodlotfarms.com
Urban Homesteading Expert  

Forward Thinking In Your Town. Some towns do not allow residents to raise hens. Please check your town laws and understand them before moving ahead. If raising chicken hens is not permitted in your town, you can, must, and need to change the law. 


What you need to know. 
The benefits, myths, issues and the contradictions of raising backyard chicken hens. 

Once upon a time, folks in most small town kept chickens around the house for fresh eggs. Now, amidst a renewed interest in local food, health, and sustainability, local residents want to bring back the option of raising backyard chicken hens.   

Recently chickens have undergone complete image rehabilitation. Urban towns and cities across the country are now changing their town ordinances to allow families to own and raise small backyard flocks.   

In the past 6 years, over 800 cities and towns across the US have changed their laws to allow residents to start raising chicken hens. Just recently forward thinking Jersey City’s council encouraged their residents to start raising Chickens and honeybees.

"Fresh is not what you buy at the grocery store. Fresh is when you go into your backyard, and harvest breakfast, lunch, and dinner, everyone should have a backyard garden and raise hens."  Wayne Resident Michele Acton   

Martha Stewart's book "Entertaining" began to change that perception. As a committed chicken-keeper herself, she made chickens seem less like livestock and more like useful, companionable creatures. Chicken hens are no longer associated with being farm animals. A 6 pound chicken hen has very little in common with a 400 lb. hog.

The second you start raising chicken hens you lower your families carbon footprint. The practice of urban homesteading and raising chicken hens has a POSITIVE effect on the local environment. Raising backyard chickens is now  synonymous with sustainability.

Chickens are pets with a purpose. Hens lay eggs their entire life and live up to over 15 years old. By providing a high protein food source chicken hens pay for themselves. 
In our current troubled times, raising hens for eggs will save families money.


Local & Residential Sustainability Raising Hens 
There is no waste with raising hens. Everything the chicken hen produces is used. The eggs are for healthy eating. If your hens produce a bit more eggs than you need, just give them away to friends and family. 

Egg shells are packed with Calcium. Crushed egg shells add valuable nutrients to soil. Calcium is essential for cell growth in all plants. Calcium is especially important for fast growing plants because they quickly deplete the surrounding soil of calcium. 

The second you start raising chicken hens you lower your families carbon footprint. The practice of urban homesteading and raising chicken hens has a POSITIVE effect on the local environment. 

Raising backyard chickens is now synonymous with sustainability. Wayne and other towns do an outstanding job in promoting sustainability. But as a town you cannot promote sustainability and not allow your residents to raise hens. You can’t achieve one without the other. 

Living in the northeast we get most of our food from southern states, out west, Latin America, and even China.  Food and eggs are first shipped to wholesale grocery supply companies like C&S Wholesale Company. Then, the wholesale company distributes the food and eggs to local supermarkets. 

When buying food and eggs we have to consider the amount of resources it takes to get our food to our local supermarkets and the fuel used to travel to the market. It all adds up. Once less trip to the market makes a difference. 

Chicken Manure As Fertilizer
Chicken waste is gardening gold. Composted chicken manure is one of the most sought after fertilizers for gardeners! Chicken manure fertilizer is very high in nitrogen and also contains a good amount of potassium and phosphorus. The high nitrogen and balanced nutrients is the reason that chicken manure compost is the best kind of manure to use. 

It’s a fact that nitrogen helps to produce larger and healthier fruits and vegetables.

Coops with wheels can be moved around the yard to feed your lawn with rich nitrogen, so you can stop using harsh lawn chemicals. Calcium and nitrogen help keep your garden soil, grass, and plants healthy.   More Info On Chicken Manure 

RUTGERS Soil Study- Pastures and Livestock Build Soil Fertility

Create Town Revenue
Just like a dog license, chicken owners will have to acquire a license for a fee (tax) from the town health department to own and raise hens. All these same things can apply to chicken owners.  

There are good dog owners and there are bad dog owners. Chicken hen owners are not going to be any different. Just like a barking dog can become a nuisance, if a resident’s Hen becomes a nuisance or a resident abuses the law then the town will deal with it just as it would a barking dog.   

Town revenue is hard to come by. Towns can use the new chicken hen law to promote sustainability and create revenue for the town. Our country, states, counties, towns, and residents are strapped for cash and resources are running out.

On a local level town officials need to enable and encourage residents to become less dependent on government resources. Dependence on government has rose over 23% in the last two years. Over 67 million Americans now rely on some federal program.
  
Food prices are soaring. 
Egg prices expected to rise - consumers warned.

Families will save over $400 a year raising just 5 hens. Town officials are always looking for ways to help local residents save money. Support the new chicken law and kill 3 birds with 1 stone. Promote sustainability, improve health, and help local families save money.


The Hen House
Chicken coops are now designed for all types of applications. Coop designs can be totally charming, upscale and even whimsical. You can convert an existing shed for under $50.00 or spend up to $5,000 for a beautiful dollhouse replica. 

Hens need about 2 square feet in the coop and about 5 sq ft. of an outside chicken run. So with 5 hens you will only need 35 square feet to raise happy healthy hens. As long as the hens have a dry box for egg laying, a roost for sleeping and grooming, and are kept out of the wind in the winter, really anything goes. 

Some of the coop designs I have seen are just remarkable and very innovative. There are even coops with wheels so you can move the coop around the yard to feed your lawn with rich nitrogen and stop using harsh lawn chemicals. 
Chicken Coop Pictures 

In Closing 
Looking at some of these issues with common sense you quickly realize there is not much to go on. After reading this I hope you would agree that all U.S. residents should be allowed to own and raise 3 to 5 hens (no roosters) regardless of the size of their properties.   

Town officials should take a forward-looking approach to this matter and recognize all the benefits associated with this ordinance change and vote on FACTS, not personal opinions.
   
You personally may not want to own and raise chicken hens. That’s your choice.  
I should also have a choice and I choose health and sustainability over anything else.   

  
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