Keep on Clucking: Urban Chickens on the Rise

Urban chickens are surging in popularity throughout Texas.
Fri April 13, 2012 10:27 pm
Flickr | Thomas Pix
Some 100 people sat in folding chairs under shade trees behind Buck Moore Feed & Pet Supply in Austin early on the morning of April 7 to hear chicken expert Cameron Molberg talk about raising hens in your backyard for fun and eggs.

The general manager of Coyote Creek Farm in Elgin, Molberg entertained the crowd with fun facts: Chickens enjoy music, but not anything too peppy (so don’t play Latin pop star Shakira, please); a box of live chicks can be sent to you by mail; and unwanted roosters have been successfully sold on Craigslist (but one audience member had another solution: “They taste delicious”).

Molberg also shared practical tips with the urban chicken fans, whose population has been growing nationwide the last several years. After his talk, attendees walked over to the parking lot to see a menagerie of unusual breeds, including a tall, long-legged bird with a golden head that looked like a supermodel.

Participants also took a self-guided tour of sixteen henhouses ranging from humble to sleek. One of the most striking enclosures on the fourth annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour was a converted children’s play castle with blue turrets and a pink door. Tour organizer Brandi Clark Burton* was appropriately attired in a hat that looked like a large white hen sitting on her head. “It was an early birthday present from my mom,” she said.

A survey of Texas chicken husbandry regulations showed an overall tolerance for backyard fowl as long as the noise and smell don’t offend your neighbors (although some cities, like Plano, forbid chickens). The regs require considerable patience to wade through, as chickens are not addressed in one tidy section. Most cities did agree that roosters are poultry non grata because of their love of pre-dawn crowing. And poop must be scooped on a regular basis.

 Urban Chicken Regulations in Major Texas Cities

BackyardChickens.com is a ueful website on all things chicken and includes summaries of Texas laws .

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Brandi Clark Burton's last name. We regret the error. 

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