Organic Consumers Association

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How to Raise Your Own Backyard Chicken

For related articles and information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page.

In the video above, Naomi Montacre, co-founder of Naomi's Organic Farm Supply in Portland, Oregon, shares some of the basic considerations you need to take when deciding whether to raise chickens in your own backyard.

For starters, realize that chickens live upwards of 12 years, and even up to 20, so you're making a long-term commitment.

If you're even slightly familiar with the many problems of commercial egg farming, perhaps you've taken the step of finding a healthier, more humane source for your eggs, like a farmer's market or direct from a local farm.

For some, this quest for farm-fresh eggs takes them down a slightly different path toward raising their own backyard chickens. According to one web site devoted to the topic, "Thousands if not millions of chickens are quietly tucked away in backyards across America... "1

Ironically, considering it wasn't too long ago that people raised chickens as a matter of necessity - and US government posters during World War I and World War II actually encouraged Americans to keep hens (along with plant Victory Gardens), raising chickens is now considered trendy.2

Forbes even went so far as to say "it has become the mark of twenty-first century urban hipness to keep a bunch of birds out back."3 Whether you're seriously considering this idea or simply find it intriguing, there are some important considerations. The first is to find out whether it's legal where you live.      

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