I'm staying in northern VA for a couple months. I'm not used to this crowded high density living style - we live in rural AZ. While here, I'm noting a lot about how people live in this type environment. There's a store that has several recycle bins as well as a compost bin, but I wonder how many people actually use it. Also, it's just for compost. I'm throwing out so much food while here, and everything I throw out or put down the disposal, I'm thinking, "I would be giving this to the chickens if I was home."
I have seen several community gardens telling me that people living in these condensed conditions still want to have access to nature and gardening. Passing one the other day gave me pause for thought - what about community chickens? If they had community chickens along with their community gardens, they could be feeding all their food waste to the chickens instead of inviting roaches and rats (OK, I haven't actually seen rats, but I have seen mice). The chickens would cut down on the bug population including the bugs in the gardens if supervised AND provide fertilizer, not to mention eggs.
I'm paying $6/doz for pastured eggs here! Meanwhile at home, hubby is collecting a dozenish a day. I toyed with the idea of trying to have him ship some, lol.
So I haven't completely thought this through yet, but want to ask if anyone here has considered the possibility or seen this done anywhere. What are the pros and cons of having community chickens? What are your thoughts?
Wayne, yes, I've been seeing news pieces about the designer chickens in Silicon Valley, lol.
Joseph Lofthouse, WOW, first of all, I feel so honored How wonderful to be able to throw your scraps to the local farmers chickens. There are a lot of farmers markets in this area and a number of farmers selling their eggs. Hmm, I wouldn't want to take away from the farmers. People in this area are pretty far removed to be able to take their scraps to the farms. I'm talking northern VA/DC area. Ha, maybe we can get some chickens on the White House lawn, lol.
I think there could be space within some of the community gardens. Still considering how the chickens might be a big benefit in urban areas. Not just eggs but keeping the bug/rodent population in check. Dumpsters behind all these high rise/high density apartment buildings are disgusting.
I know many cities now allow a limit of hens only, but that's only if you have a backyard. I'm thinking of this for people without any yard.
I think your idea is fantastic, but I do have some real concerns with implementation. I live in a city that doesn't allow for chickens unless you have more yard than more than 90% of people in our area own. In the few public places where there are animals (like community parks) with park ducks, geese, even rented swans (yes, a local org rents swans for the pond behind my house every year) there is a problem with the local wildlife and the locals themselves. Since my yard backs up to this local park, I've seen many ducks taken by local foxes and stray cats, as well as young people in our area killing the ducks, swans and geese for sport; and if chickens were in the mix, they would likely be targets as well. I would fear that in a community garden, which wouldn't necessarily have a person looking after the property continuously, that harm would come to the flock. It's a shame that in many urban settings, people can ultimately play the worst part into ruining it for the masses that actually care. My husband witnessed one pair of young kids killing a Canadian goose in the pond behind our house with an airsoft-type gun, and then they stood on the edge of the pond and urinated on it. He was too stunned at what he was seeing until it was too late, but I fear that in many urban settings, this type of behavior might exist. I hope that if you do go forward with the idea, that the flock still has someone to look after them and keep them safe.
A few years ago I was part of a 7-family community chicken "cooperative" in one of the largest cities in the country. It worked like this: all the chickens stayed in my neighbor's back yard, permanently. 7 family households in the neighborhood participated in the co-op. Each family household was in charge of one day of the week. Our day was Sunday. On Sunday morning my partner & I would walk over to our neighbor's house, feed & water the chickens, clean the poop out of their nests, add fresh straw, & collect the Sunday eggs (which were usually more than enough for the whole week). Then, the next household took care of Monday, & so on. Once every 7 weeks, we would buy a bag of chicken feed. A whiteboard was used to remind folks who needed to buy feed when. This worked perfectly, & we were part of the co-op for several years until we moved out of the city. We we moved away, another neighbor got our "share" & took over Sundays from us. This neighborhood is 3 miles away from downtown!