The Pros and Cons of Owning Chickens in the Suburbs

Updated on July 5, 2019
Lukestclair profile image

Luke is an appraiser in Texas. He and his wife keep chickens and thoroughly enjoy those fresh, organic eggs.

chickens and children living in harmony
chickens and children living in harmony

During the first few years of my marriage, my wife and I have been a part of many different co-ops and have tried to eat organic as much as possible. One of these co-ops was a farm where we received fresh milk and eggs, and the difference is staggering from what you'd find in a grocery store.

Our first home was very nice but had a very small backyard. Once we had kids, my wife and I were looking for a new place with a bigger back yard, but my wife had a secret poultry agenda. She wanted chickens and a coop to keep them in for her birthday and our anniversary, which occur in the same month. She did all the research to find out which breeds work best with younger children and what kind of henhouse to buy for them.

We now happily own chickens, and this is what we've learned.

Which Make Better Pets: Roosters or Hens?

When buying baby chicks, there's always the chance that you buy a baby rooster. We knew that we didn't want an angry mini-dinosaur running around acting like he owns the place, so my wife found a farm that charged a bit more but guaranteed hens. This is not a necessity for everyone, but for us, it really helped out.

The Positives of Owning Chickens

  • Fresh, Organic Eggs: This is the number one reason to own these birds. Fresh eggs from healthy birds are so delicious that you'll never be the same again. They do need some washing beforehand, but if you desire to crack one into your pan, then you won't be disappointed.
  • Fertilizer: Chicken poop is high in nitrogen, which is a good way to fertilize a garden or yard. I've heard of people using it in their compost as well.
  • Insect control: My chickens love to chase and eat any bug they can get their beaks on. Depending on how many birds you own, this could really help with your insect problems.
  • Companionship: Chickens have the potential to be very friendly animals. We have one hen named Iris that will come and sit in our lap and want to be petted. Our other two, Petunia and Marigold, are still warming up to the family. I'd recommend buying some dried mealworms; chickens go crazy for those little guys.
  • Responsibility: If you have children, it can be a good lesson in responsibility. My son loves our three ladies and my wife and I try to get him involved in taking care of these animals. He feeds them, makes sure that they have water, and loves to give them the mealworm treats.

The Negatives of Owning Chickens

  • Mess: Their coop and nesting box has to be cleaned almost daily. They poop a lot, and it is gross.
  • Daily care: Like any animal, they need to be taken care of and it's a daily thing. We try to feed them some appropriate leftovers and scraps, but it's mostly chicken feed for the gals.
  • They need to be protected: I'm pretty sure that if left to their own devices, our dogs would gobble up our chickens with no hesitation. If the ladies are out free-ranging in the backyard, the dogs cannot be let outside. If they even see them from the window they will bark and jump like absolute wild animals. It's probably the biggest negative for my family right now because we thought that our dogs would be friendly and gentle instead of bloodthirsty.
  • They're sensitive to insect and weed control: Spraying for weeds and bugs with traditional products can be dangerous for your birds. This is frustrating for me because if I want my lawn short, I'd have to mow these weeds down every week. We're hoping that the chickens develop a taste for mosquitoes and junebugs too.
  • They're vulnerable to predation: In Texas, we have birds of prey in the sky and as a kid, I have seen them nab chickens in broad daylight. If you let your chickens free-range, then that is a real risk that you are taking. There's also stray dogs, cats, raccoons, and even rats that can go after your birds.

Are You Ready for Chicken Ownership?

After my wife and I considered all these pros and cons, we decided the positives outweigh the negatives and decided to be chicken owners. They're a fun and productive animal to have on your property, and while they may not be for everyone, the eggs are still delicious.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Ellison Hartley profile image

        Ellison Hartley 

        2 months ago from Maryland, USA

        I have ended up with so many chickens because people got on the trendy backyard chicken bandwagon without looking into it first.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)