It depends. Help your clients rule their roost with these half dozen pros and cons of backyard chickens.
Raising backyard chickens inside city limits has been gaining popularity nationwide. Chickens are more than just fun, docile pets. Chickens produce eggs that are fresh, nutritious and can offer nutrition and flavor. More than ever before, real estate agents might be faced with questions about raising and keeping backyard chickens.
DID YOU KNOW? Chickens are also a chemical-free bug and weed control system?
If your client is considering having chickens on their property or they are selling a home with an exisiting coop, provide them with this information to help them consider these half dozen pros and cons:
1. Consult HOA Rules and City Codes
The first thing to consider is whether you’re legally allowed to have chickens at all, and how many you are allowed to have in your flock. The website Backyard Chickens keeps lists of laws around the country, but also advises home owners to confirm with their community’s municipal code. Certain animals, such as venomous snakes and crowing roosters, are often illegal in many areas as they are perceived to be a nuisance or a safety/health concern. Zoning laws will specify which and how many animals are allowed.
If you are part of an HOA, verify that there are no such restrictions. Just because there is a coop on the property when a buyer is touring, doesn’t mean proper permission exists.
2. Choose Your Coop
A clean and attractive coop in good condition can actually add value to a home, especially if your community is already fowl-friendly. The types and varieties of chicken coops are vast and satisfy all tastes. If you are a DIY’er, you can find coop plans on the internet to suit your style, and budget. Think ahead when embarking on your first coop and consider it an amenity, not a permanent structure.
If you have a coop and are selling your home, keep the area clean.
3. Fence Your Flock
Smart pet ownership, not to mention good neighborly etiquette, means ensuring that your flock stays contained. Containing your chickens will keep them from being a nuisance to your neighborhood, as well as secure them from predatory animals.
4. Location, Location, Location
Experts say that proper placement of your coop is a must. Chickens scratch and peck the ground looking for bugs and worms for food. This can ruin your grass, gardens and ground covering. Select a place that is not a heavy traffic area in the yard.
5. Rule Your Roost
Roosters in many areas are illegal, not to mention a nuisance. Hatcheries, feed and pet stores can’t guarantee the sex of your birds, so plan ahead if your chick grows into a rooster.
Did you know that chickens stop laying eggs long before their life expectancy is up? Hens typically stop laying eggs after a few years, but it depends on the individual hen. Sometimes production slows, but doesn't completely stop for several years. Even after they stop laying, chickens can live as long as 15 years old. Will you still want a chicken as ‘just’ a pet once they stop producing eggs? This should be considered before getting chickens.
6. Be a Good Neighbor
As it is with all pet ownership, you bear a responsibility to your neighbors to be considerate. Keep your coop clean and your flock contained. Chicken poop attracts rats, mice and possums. They are also highly susceptible to prey animals such as hawks, coyotes, owls, and bobcats and even dogs. Don’t attract unwanted guests to your neighborhood by not protecting your coop or keeping it clean.
And if you have some to spare, share your bounty with your neighbors.