Myths About Raising Chickens in Your Backyard

Just like many other social phenomena that are good for the environment, the exploding trend of people growing their own chickens in the backyard has its naysayers.  Naysayers come in a wide variety of stripes.  For example, the widespread understanding that global warming is real and that we’re causing it has its naysayers, many of whom stand to lose a lot of money when their oil and coal has to internalize the cost of the pollution they’ve been making us pay for since their inception.  Or those that say that electric cars are not realistic…sure there are naysayers…wait, is there a trend here that the oil industry is against everything good?  Hmm…

But I digress.  Suffice it to say, there are naysayers who don’t want us to live well, to live with a lower carbon footprint by producing our own food.  Kimberly Willis and Rob Ludlow, co-authors of Raising Chickens for Dummies, can be counted among those that are dispelling these myths and empowering the people.  In the book, Willis and Ludlow dispel some of the myths surrounding having chickens in your backyard.  There are ten of them spelled out in Chapter 18, in fact, but several in particular caught my eye.  First of all, you don’t need a rooster in order to get eggs.  Hens lay eggs regardless of whether there’s a male presence around.  This ought to alleviate the most common misperception and roadblock to having your own flock in your backyard, and that is:  neighbors often object to being woken up by crowing of roosters.  It’s a very valid concern, and if you plan to breed your chickens, there are things you can do to lessen the noise issue.  But if you only plan to raise meat birds or eggs, there is no reason you need a rooster at all.

Among the other myths discussed in Chapter 18, Willis and Ludlow debunk the “You can’t raise chickens if you live in the city!”, “bird flu is a risk to reckon with”, “Keeping chickens penned is inhumane”, and “egg carton advertising is the absolute truth.”

The book is a must read if you are planning on raising some birds in your backyard.

Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill).

Follow Scott on Twitter:  ScottCooney

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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on