Fresh eggs for urban residents
and their early-morning wake-up calls into urban areas at all.
Most councils have spatial regulations around the size of a backyard and chickenrelated housing too.
For example, Auckland Council states that all chickens need to have access to a solid chicken house that should be at least 10 metres from an occupied house and at least three metres away from any public place or boundary, while Whangarei District Council’s restrictions are slightly different.
The area where chickens run around needs to be well fenced to prevent your neighbours receiving unexpected guests –and surprise eggs – too.
Living in the city poses safety issues for chickens, so coops should have lockable doors and be raised off the ground to keep predators like cats and dogs out.
‘‘They’re also amazing at destroying a lawn,’’ Jensen says. ‘‘ Give them a large area so they don’t turn your lawn into a dust bowl. If you care about keeping your grass in good condition, make sure you move your coop regularly; a portable coop makes this a much easier job.’’
Jensen says prospective chicken owners need to think about the future too. ‘‘Chickens don’t lay eggs forever, so you need to think about what you’re going to do when they stop. At some point you may have to part ways with them – consider making a post on Neighbourly – you’re bound to find someone else in the neighbourhood who’ll be happy to take them.’’ Aren’t chickens smelly? ‘‘Chickens themselves aren’t especially smelly; chicken poo on your lawn is,’’ he says. ‘‘Regularly cleaning their coop keeps unwelcome aromas at bay. It’s not a fun job so make sure you get a coop that’s easy to clean.’’
These days there are companies that offer a noobligation six-week ‘‘try before you buy’’ service if you love the idea of having fresh eggs every morning but aren’t sure if adopting chickens is right for you.
They’ll turn up to your place with two chickens, a coop, feed, hay for your new friends to roost in, and plenty of advice to get you started. And they’ll take it all away if you decide chickens aren’t really your thing.
Contact your council to find out if you can have chickens at your place.
Rob Jensen says chickens are part of his new sustainable lifestyle.