Why did the chicken cross the yard?

To get to its backyard coop, of course! Backyard chickens have grown in popularity these last few years and continue to become more and more common. Chances are you or someone you know has a little coop in their backyard and if you’re really lucky they’ll throw a few of those fabulous eggs your way every now and then.

Chickens do require some set-up and time (about as much as a housecat) but chicken advocates say the payoff far outweighs the small investment and claim once that payoff is seen your interest in the chickens will grow from one borne of practicality to incorporating the birds as part of the family.

A backyard coop is a great way to be more sustainable and it doesn’t get more local than eating from your own yard. Backyard chickens aren’t just for locavores. There are several convincing health claims too. Pastured chicken eggs (those raised naturally on grass and insects) have 33% less cholesterol and 10% less saturated fat than chickens raised in factory farms. They also have 40% more Vitamin A, three times the Vitamin E, and two times the Omega 3s. Additionally, chickens eat pests from your yard and keep bugs to a minimum. And if you have a garden you can reap the benefits of the “black gold” as the chickens recycle all the goodies they’ve been eating.

Even after considering all the practical reasons the chicken owners I know say their number one reason for keeping chickens now is simply that they make great pets. They each have their own personality and provide hours and hours of backyard entertainment. Of course, chickens aren’t for everyone, just like dogs, ferrets, or snakes aren’t. But if you think you might enjoy the benefits of bringing these birds into your life, check your homeowner’s association to be sure you won’t be violating any rules. The City of Austin allows chicken under most circumstances provided you follow their rules. Once you’re sure you’re within the law check out websites like backyardchickens.com where you will get the scoop on everything you need to know from building a coop, the best breeds, what to feed, etc…

Just like the tiny houses websites you can spend hours looking through the seemingly infinite designs of chicken coops out there. They can be small and simple:


Or elaborate and fanciful:


Or anywhere in between. Either way, backyard fun will ensue.