People have been finding a variety of new and interesting hobbies and interests during the pandemic. You may see your friends on Facebook unveiling their latest recipes, crafts, and artwork. Your Instagram feed may show pictures of families working on yard projects together or welcoming new pets. It seems like many people are busy with new activities or making changes to their surroundings. And it turns out the sounds of clucking and cawing you’re hearing around your neighborhood is not just in your imagination. It does appear that more people have been getting backyard chickens now. You wouldn’t think of the city as a place for farm animals. However, current ordinances say that chickens are allowed in the city of Vancouver, but not roosters (for obvious reasons!). This is why the Humane Society recommends getting adult birds when the gender is already known, as opposed to starting with cute fluffy baby chicks—though they are adorable.
Urban chickens were already a growing trend in recent years. Now that people are spending more time at home, raising backyard chickens seems to be even more popular now as a sustainable source of eggs, garden fertilizer, and also as a fun and educational outdoor hobby for the youngest family members.
But like with any furry friends—or in this case feathered—there are many things to consider before bringing chickens home.
Space & Time: Chickens don’t actually require much space, depending on how many you plan to have and if they will be mostly cooped or free range. But when the pandemic ends will you still have enough time at home to continue to care for them?
Weather & Seasons: As with many outdoor chores, caring for chickens will be the most pleasant during nice weather. Going out to gather eggs on a warm, sunny morning might make you feel like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but consider if the long, cold rainy season might possibly dampen your enthusiasm for this chore?
Health & Safety: Just like humans who can spread disease without showing symptoms, the CDC warns that poultry can carry Salmonella without any signs of illness. During this time when infectious disease is so top of mind, do you really want another reason to wash your hands?
If you’re not deterred by any of these considerations there are many resources to help get you started raising your flock. The Humane Society has some good information for the care and keeping of chickens. You should also visit your local feed and farm supply stores for expert tips and supplies.
Remember to share eggs with your closest neighbors. They won’t mind the farmyard noises so much with tasty fresh eggs to enjoy!