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About Owning Backyard Hens
The following is a collection of the silly myths that surround the raising of backyard hens. These issues are the type of things a town official or neighbors may bring up in your quest to change your existing town law.
Property Values and Raising Hens
You can personally believe your neighbor raising hens will lower the value of your home. The problem with making a statement like this is there is absolutely no data supporting your claim. I can say chickens lay golden eggs, it doesn't make it true. In fact there is data proving otherwise. Forbes lists of the 10 healthiest real estate markets and all but one city allow chickens.
Chickens Are Not Pets
Not true. Chickens make great pets. Chickens have personality's and can identify up to 30 different faces. Chickens play and are easily trained. Hens are the one pet that produces something that improves your life. 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.
Over 6,000,000 homes in the USA own indoor birds as pets. Snakes are pets. Horses, rabbits, spiders, and rats are pets. In New York City, NY, chickens are considered pets under the Health Code. Unlimited number of hens are allowed.
Hens Need Roosters To Lay Eggs
One of the biggest myths is that you need roosters to produce eggs. This is not true. You do not need roosters to get fresh healthy organic eggs. Hens do this naturally all by themselves. Roosters are only needed if you intend to breed and reproduce chickens. Roosters do not lay eggs.
Disease and Bird Flu Concerns
When talking about birds and disease please keep in mind birds are everywhere. There are over 9,800 bird species living today. There over 350 species in New Jersey alone.
There are more chickens in the US than there are people on the planet. When talking about birds and disease you have to consider all family pets. The national Center for Disease Control mentions 3 public health issues with chickens (birds), 16 for cats,
and 17 for dogs! Please keep in mind chicken hens do not enter your home. Dogs and
cats are fed in most home kitchens and sleep in most beds.
Disease and bird flu argument is only brought up by residents and town officials who
are reaching for excuses. Most town officials don’t seem to be worried about all the Canadian Geese running around our local school fields, parks, and golf courses.
Any one of us can go out today and purchase an exotic imported bird from our local
pet store and keep them in our homes as pets. Over 6,000,000 homes in the USA own indoor birds.
The more you own of any pet, the more likely there will be disease. Town officials should be more concerned with the larger flocks residents currently own, and less concerned about residents owning 3 to 5 hens.
There is absolutely no study that proves you are more likely to get disease or bird flu with raising chickens on smaller properties than 2 acres. If town officials are concerned about disease than no residents should have the right to raise chickens.
The fact is in the USA pigeons and winter starlings carry more diseases than any other bird. Pest control experts and public health specialists warn that there are dozens of different human pathogens associated with pigeons, including some that can be dangerous or even deadly. Many experts feel that pigeons are a significant health risk to people.
Chickens are legal in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, NY City, and the highest populated city in the country Brooklyn NY. These cities don't seem to be worried about disease and bird flu. Why is your town?
Click For U.S. Global Health Policy - CASES
Avian Influenza A/(H5N1) Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Cases
Click For U.S. Global Health Policy - DEATHS
Avian Influenza A/(H5N1) Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Deaths
Chickens and There Waste Attract Rodents
This is absolutely not true. Chickens do not attract rodents. In fact chicken hens chase and kill rodents. Chickens are omnivores. They eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like small mice and lizards.
Why on earth would rodents be attracted to chicken waste?
Rodents don't eat chicken waste.
What attracts rodents is the chicken feed. (bird seed)
When using this argument opposing the owning of hens please keep in mind feeding birds is not ILLEGAL.
Bird food is sold in every supermarket, pet store, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Target, even Walgreens has 20 lb bags
There is NO difference between feeding wild birds, domestic chicken hens, rabbits, and pigeons.
Unless you intend on making feeding birds ILLEGAL this argument cannot be used.
Example: My retired neighbor Joe loves feeding birds and has many bird feeders all over his yard. Even has a platform feeder for laying out peanuts and sliced fruit for the Blue Jays and Cardinals. He keeps a log of bird species that enter his yard from year to year. Joe can peacefully sit in his backyard and feed the birds all day whenever he wants with bird food.
A small list of things that attract rodents around the house. Vegetable gardens, flowers, flower bulbs, compost bins, bird feeders, bird food, Honeybees (honey) dog and cat food, garbage, dirty BBQ's, insects, rabbit feed, pigeon feed, Koi fish pond feed, and free standing water.
Chickens Attract Wildlife
Yes chickens do attract wildlife. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, turtles, beavers, possum, snakes, fox, coyote, bobcat, turkey, and black bears.
To use this argument against allowing residents to own and raise chicken hens,
you need to understand and consider all things that also attract wildlife.
Vegetable gardens, flowers, flower bulbs, tall grass, compost bins, bird feeders,
bird food, Honeybees (honey), worm farms, barking dogs, cats, garbage, dirty BBQ's, insects, rabbit coops, pigeon coops, Koi fish ponds and free standing water.
Chickens Are Noisy
Every bird on the planet makes noise. Chickens are no exception. But the noisy culprit is the ROOSTER NOT THE HEN. Roosters are noisy because they protect the flock, engage in male courting, fights for dominance, and territorial battles.
With 3 to 5 hens there is no fighting for dominance, THERE’S NO MALE. There's no territorial battle because chickens are instinctual. They understand that with only 3 to 5 chickens they need each other to survive.
In the wild when chickens want to lay an egg they break from the pack and seek privacy. When they are finished they let out a loud call to find their pack members. In a Chicken coop with 5 chickens or less there is no need for this behavior, all 5 chickens are very aware of each others locations.
Making noise uses energy. Instinctually the call out is unnecessary and pointless. Chickens are survivors the last thing they want is to attract unnecessary attention to themselves and their newly lain eggs. Chicken have been around since 2500 BC. I do not think they would have survived this long running around making noise all day attracting predators.
Chickens need and want sunlight. When the sun goes down, so does the chicken. They go into their
coops and go to bed. Un-like big barking dogs.
Noise is measured in decibels. Dogs have been
recorded louder than 100 decibels.
Human conversation is measured at 60 decibels. Chicken hens at their loudest have about the same decibel level as human conversation around 60 decibels.
Hens are so quiet that there have been cases of family flocks being kept for years without the next door neighbors knowing it.
This is because of sound drop off. Example 70 decibels measured one foot from the source that has traveled only 20 feet ranges down to 49 decibels.
Chickens Quieter Than Neighborhood Birds
Buffalo Rising City Chickens
Chicken hens are not noisy, dogs are.
In towns it’s legal to do construction and run power tools at 110 decibels morning, noon, and night from 7am to 10pm.
Also I can own 1,000 pigeons, do pigeons not make noise?
My wife and I sit in my backyard reading and hear mowers, blowers, weed wackers, power washers, power saws, and all kinds of power tools all over 100 decibels. The people using these tools are recommended to use ear safety protection.
And it's ILLEGAL for my family to raise 5 chicken hens because they might be too noisy?
This argument does not fly. There are to many things around us that make plenty of noise. There is a long list of things that are too noisy and chickens are not one of them.
Every home makes noise in one form or another. Some people like using power tools, other people like loud music, some yards are filled with loud kids and barking dogs.
Some homes have old central air units that power up and power down all day long.
We all have our thing. We need to learn to coexist.
Links Charts Info
Murray Hill Hatchery
Chickens Will Get Loose and Roam The Streets
Absolutely Not True. Chickens are very vulnerable. With the kind of wild life out there chickens would not last more than 1 or 2 nights in the wild. This is why we do not see chickens running around the streets in local towns where chickens are legal.
Chickens Are Dirty
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen a dirty bird? The answer is NO and NEVER. They don't exist. Chickens are birds and just like any other bird chickens spend up to 4 hours a day grooming.
You may think a bird looks dirty. I worked in the city for 13 years and I think pigeons are absolutely filthy, but are they really? Chickens have been around since 2500 BC. The notion that chickens are dirty is absolutely ridiculous and not worth spending anymore time on.
Chicken Waste Smells Bad
You can say chicken (bird) waste smells 100 different ways, But it doesn't make it true.
Now if chicken hen waste smells, then so does rabbit, pigeon, and dog waste. Check with your town to see how many of these pets are allowed.
Let's put this into perspective. A 40-pound dog generates more solid waste than 10 chicken hens. To be more specific, one 40-pound dog generates .75 pounds of poop every single day. Five 40-pound dogs generate 3.75 pounds of poop every single day. That is equivalent to owning 56 hens. Five 2-pound chicken hens generate .33 pounds per day.
The animal does not determine the smell of
the waste it produces. The food the animal
eats determines the smell of the waste the
animal produces. Chicken feed is made out
of whole grains.
But the fact is, just like dog and cat food, chicken feed is scientifically designed to eliminate odors. Many years ago pet food manufacturers realized pet owners didn't like smelly pets.
Zoo's in California were the first to start looking
for an all natural biological solution to neutralize animal waste. And they discovered "Yucca Schidigera" in southeastern California.
Yucca Schidigera, also known as the Mojave yucca or Spanish Dagger, is a flowering plant that is native to the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, Baja California, southern Nevada and western Arizona.
After having success in zoo's, it was then added to bird seed for homeowners who owned indoor birds like Parrots, Canaries, Finches, Conures, and Cockatiels.
Over 6,000,000 homes in the USA own indoor birds.
Forms of pure "Yucca Schidigera" Root Powder is
now used in all pet foods including chicken feed.
"Yucca Schidigera" is what pet and chicken feed
manufacturers add to food to eliminate pet waste odors.
The extracts from this plant are in animal feed and various
herbal medications. It is used as a natural deodorizer, and
is used in pet deodorizers.
This is why CHICKEN HEN WASTE DOES NOT SMELL and most certainly not with only 5 chicken hens.
What would you rather have living next to you. 5 dogs or 5 chicken hens?
Links To Support The Facts:
Pure "Yucca Schidigera" Root Powder
Ultra Bio-Logics Inc. Printable Pdf
Yucca Schidigera Extract NP Raw Material (Food Grade)
University Studies Yuca
Town Law Contradictions
Check your town laws to find the contradictions.
Point On Dogs
Now I own and love dogs. This is to point out the contradiction in the law. In Wayne NJ it's LEGAL for residents to own and raise 5 Pit Bulls. But it's ILLEGAL to own and raise 5 chicken hens.
There are more than 72 million pet dogs in the U.S. and nearly 82 million pet cats.
Residents in Wayne can raise 5 dogs per household. It’s cruel but Wayne law states that dogs do not have to be kept in your home. With the proper housing dogs can be kept in your yard for their entire life never entering your home.
lronically, just like backyard chicken hens would be kept.
An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the
US each year. Every 40 seconds, someone in
the United States seeks medical attention for
a dog bite. Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion
per year, with over $300 million paid by homeowners insurance.
Most of the victims are children, and most of
them are bitten on the face. Between 1982
and 2006 dogs were responsible for 2209 Attacks, 264 Deaths, and 1323 Mameings.
All The Facts On Dog Bites
The National Center for Disease Control mentions 3 public health issues with birds,
16 for cats, and 17 for dogs. Cats Dogs Birds
Dogs have no health or sustainability benefits to the community. In fact dogs increase families carbon footprints. One 40-pound dog generates more solid waste than 10 chicken hens.
If town officials and residents are concerned about noise, smell, and public safety, it doesn't seem like chicken hens are the problem. Point is, if you are against residents owning chicken hens, then you must be against residents owning dogs.
Town resident regardless of the size of their yard can raise, breed, sell, and slaughter rabbits without a license. As many as you want with no yard restrictions or coop setbacks. Rabbits can be kept outside in your yard all year long.
lronically, just like backyard chicken hens would be kept.
Rabbits are known to carry rabies and have
razor sharp teeth. Hundreds of injuries are
reported each year from rabbit bites mainly
around the Easter holiday. Rabbits are known
to become very aggressive.
Now rabbits do have a sustainable benefit to
the community. Their waste is very similar to
chicken waste mostly made up of nitrogen and
perfect for the garden. But their meat is very
low in protein and for the urban homesteader
raising chickens is more beneficial.
The contradiction is that in Wayne NJ it's
ILLEGAL to own chicken hens, But It's LEGAL to own, raise, breed, sell, and slaughter as many rabbits as I want. 20, 30, or 40, no restrictions. As far as smell, their waste is almost exactly the same as chickens, mostly made up of nitrogen.
I wonder how 50 rabbits would smell?
Indoor Exotic Birds
Today over 6,000,000 homes in the USA own indoor birds. Any one of us can go out today and purchase an exotic imported bird form our local pet store and keep them in our homes as pets. Indoor birds like Parrots, Canaries, Finches, Conures, and Cockatiels.
Currently resident regardless of the size of your yard can own, breed, sell, and release pigeons. Wayne residents can own as many pigeons as they want with no limits and without a license from animal control. 1,000 or 2,000 No Limit.
Pigeons are kept in coops. Ironically, just like
backyard chicken hens would be kept.
Owning pigeons does not have any health or
sustainability benefits to the local community.
The fact is in the USA pigeons and winter
starlings carry more diseases than any other
bird on the east coast. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_Pigeon
The contradiction is that in Wayne NJ it's ILLEGAL to own chicken hens, But It's LEGAL to own and raise 1,000 or 2,000 domestic pigeons in your yard with a coop no larger than 1,200 square foot.