Best Backyard Chickens for Urban Areas

Keeping backyard chickens isn't just for those who own lots of land. People everywhere are reaching back to their rural roots and raising backyard chickens to reduce their reliance on grocery store stocks and to know where their food comes from and how it is raised. If you live in an urban area, and your local laws allow it, backyard chickens may be a good option for you. If you choose to raise chickens, be sure to pick the best breeds for an urban area. This will help ensure a successful experience for you and your birds.

What are the Best Backyard Chickens if You Live in an Urban Area?

No matter where you live, the rules of chicken keeping remain the same. A flock needs to have good quality food, fresh water, and a clean-living space to lay eggs, get out of inclement weather and safely perch for the night. What changes, is the consideration of roaming space and nearby neighbors. If you live on some acreage, you have the luxury of letting your flock roam freely during the day. If your space is small and neighbors are close, your chickens may have to stay in an enclosed space until you’re home to watch them roam around your yard for some free-range exercise. In that case, you will need to give some consideration to breeds that can tolerate a more controlled urban existence.

While this may sound confining to the dream of the backyard chickens, the good news is that it’s not. There are many chicken breeds that will fit the bill and make urban chicken keeping a pleasant and fun experience for all. Consider sex links and bantam chickens as you’re planning your urban flock.

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Sex Link Chickens

Sex links are a standard size chicken that works well in an urban setting because the male and female baby chickens can be identified by their color at hatching. Hatcheries, while good at sexing their day-old chicks are not always 100% accurate. Sex link chickens get rid of the problem of unwanted roosters. Sex link chickens are often a hybrid and have different names at different hatcheries. However, some purebred chickens, like the Crested Cream Legbar, are also sex-linked. Do your research and you'll find a large variety of sex link chickens to choose.

🐓🐓🐓 If you do not choose sex-link chickens, be aware of how you acquire your chickens. If you hatch eggs, there is no guarantee you'll have all hens. The ratio when hatching is really 50/50. In my personal experience, picking day-old chicks from feed store bins has always resulted in unwanted roosters. My best experience has come from purchasing directly from a hatchery. 🐓🐓🐓

Bantam vs. Standard Size

Bantam chickens are basically miniature chickens and they make excellent candidates for small space living. Their size — around one-quarter the size of a standard size chicken — means they require about one-third the living space of a larger chicken. These small chickens come in two varieties. Some are smaller versions of their larger counterparts. Others are considered true bantams, meaning there is no larger counterpart.

It is important to know that bantams live about four to eight years versus eight to 15 years for a standard-size chicken. Their eggs are smaller – two bantam eggs equal one medium egg –  and they often lay fewer throughout the year. But, if you’re not urban chicken farming, then bantam chickens will provide enough eggs for a family.

True Bantam Breeds

Belgian Bearded D’Uccle – These true bantams are showstoppers, especially in the Mille Fleur variety which literally means “a thousand flowers.” With muffs, beards, feathered legs and feet, and a friendly personality you can’t help but fall in love with this breed.

Found in Both Bantam and Large Sizes

Barred Rock – The Barred Rock is a beautiful white and black striped bird with a friendly personality. They are good brown egg layers and are cold hardy. (Pictured after opening paragraph.)

Brahma – This is a gentle and sweet backyard companion. With feathered feet and legs and profuse plumage, Brahma chickens have a unique look. Brahmas lay delicious brown eggs and are cold and heat hardy.

Easter Egger – This is a hybrid variety, so no two chickens will look exactly the same. Easter Egger chickens lay mainly green or blue eggs, but they can also lay pink, white, tinted or pink eggs. Note: Whatever the color of your Easter Egger’s first egg, that will be the color they will always lay. They don’t switch colors with each egg-laying cycle.

Leghorn - Leghorn chicken bantams are just as prolific as their larger counterparts, laying a generous number of white eggs. Popular colors include white and brown (pictured below).

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