Urban chickens are a great place to start when micro-farming. People have been keeping chickens in urban spaces since the evolution of villages into cities in ancient times. Chickens are low-tech, quiet, affectionate, and fulfill an important role within home kitchen waste reduction and composting systems. Not to mention we get tons of delicious eggs.
I currently have eight Bantam (miniature) sized hens ranging from two weeks old to over six years old. Each year we raise 4-5 chicks to replace the hens that are no longer laying due to age. Each lady has a name, a personality all of her own, and provides an egg a day depending on the temperature, season, and age of the chicken.
I typically collect six or seven eggs each morning, in addition to about two cups of organic fertilizer for my kitchen garden or worm composting system. In return, each morning I give them a big bowl of kitchen scraps including veggie peels, fruit cores, and food that goes bad in the fridge, supplemented with grain from Belmont Feed & Seed.
My chickens are allowed to range in our backyard area which measures 15 x 20 feet. They have a cedar two-story coop for shelter which holds a heat lamp, their feeder, and nest box. I use coffee chaff from Intelligentsia’s roastery as bedding, this breaks down wonderfully in the compost.
I occasionally have young hens for sale each spring, as well as free chicken fertilizer at all times.