Six In the City
If you live in the ‘wops’ you’re lucky as you can keep as many chooks as you wish. Don’t despair the rest of use who live cheek by jowl in urbania, can still keep some feathered friends. Most City and District Councils allow city residents to keep poultry as long as certain regulations are followed.
Generally speaking you are allowed between six and twelve hens per property, depending on your council. Roosters are not allowed. If keeping your chickens in a permanent run generally you must build the run 2-3 metres off the boundary and 10 metres away from a dwelling.
The coop floor is required to be easy to clean, such as concrete. If you house your chooks in a movable chicken run you can get around these regulations as the run is being moved around the lawn. Councils prefer people to keep chooks in a movable run as there is less of an issue with odour and build up of manure and flies. As with most things problems only occur when people do not clean their chickens quarters out regularly or dispose of uneaten food. This only encourages vermin and smells. Poultry ”officially” are not allowed to free range on your property. To find out the regulations for your particular council go on to their website and do a search under “Bylaw-poultry”.
The secret to successful chicken keeping in town is to inform your nighbours of your intent to keep chickens and offer them some of your free range eggs on occasion. I was the first person to keep chickens in our street but now there are three families doing the same and other neighbours drop over food scraps or bring young visitors to pet our chooks.
Do You Have Enough Space?
Chickens do not require a lot of space if you house them in a movable run. A good rule of thumb is one square metre for every chicken in a run ( less if you keep bantams) or three square metres per chicken in a permanent enclosure. Chickens need to be part of a flock. I recommend you keep at least 3 chooks together, if the unthinkable happens and you lose one, at least you still have two to keep each other company. A chicken kept by itself will be stressed, never lay and will probably die Three to four layers will keep a family well supplied in eggs; have 6-8 hens if you are a baker!
Next week I will discuss my pick of the best breeds to keep in town. Share your best chicken keeping tip on our green community forum (http://www.greenurbanliving.co.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=64 )and go into win one of five bags of my Poultry Health Tonic and Natural Wormer.
I am a Landscape Architect with a Masters in Environmental Planning and a passion for permaculture. My business, Green Urban Living (www.greenurbanliving.co.nz), is all about showing how even city dwellers can make a real difference to their families health, wallet and the environment. I run keeping chicken workshops, chicken dome building workshops, organic gardening courses, and pizza oven courses. I also provide landscape and permaculture design services. Green Urban Living.co.nz provides a knowledge sharing community forum (http://www.greenurbanliving.co.nz/forum/index.php), green products and lots of helpful articles and information.
The most satisfying thing for me abut the Green Urban Living approach is the amazing education for my children. My three boys, all under 7 years old, are a key part of the planting, harvesting and chicken breeding and rearing process. It is great to see the boys, friends and the neighbours wondering my ‘crop circle’ gardens munching on carrots, fresh peas, fruits and beans after school as if it is the most natural thing in the world to do.
Which of course is exactly what it is…