Monday, February 22, 2010

urban chickens are excellent composters

Putting it bluntly: urban gardeners are silly for not also having urban chickens.

It turns out nitrogen-rich chicken poop isn't the only way that urban chickens rock the compost pile.

According to an (otherwise mediocre) article in the Columbia Missorian:
A study found that a hen can consume about 7 pounds of food scraps a month, or about 84 pounds a year.

"If a city had 2,000 households with three hens or more each, that translates to 252 tons of biomass that's diverted from landfills," [Andy "the Chicken Whisperer"] Schneider said. "They are really good compost-ers."
I'm surprised more cities and towns aren't taking this into consideration when debating whether to legalize urban chickens.

Think of the cost-savings in reduced traffic to and from (and within) the local landfill if more folks had their own backyard egg-producing, insect-eating, weed-eating scrap composters!

I know our girls loved grapes and blueberries and lightly wilted greens as treats. What have you been surprised to find your urban chickens will eat?

Photo credit: Watt Dabney on Flickr


Amy said...

Our girls are nuts over tomatoes. They go crazy over them!

Pat Foreman said...

“The Have-More” Plan: A Little Land – A Lot of Living

Their book inspired millions of people recovering from World War II, to be more self-sufficient.

The new book: City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Supplies was written in the same spirt as Robinson’s “The Have-More” Plan from over a half-century ago. The City Chicks book has the ambitious intent of exploring three subjects.

1. Enhancing Backyard Agriculture. Urban gardening and farm-yards are on the verge of a giant leap forward, ushering in a new — and necessary — era of local and home food production. People have a right to grow their own food and chickens have valuable skill-sets that can be employed in food production systems. Some of these “skill-sets” include producers of manure for fertilizer and compost, along with being mobile herbiciders and pesticiderers. And of course, they also provide eggs and meat. City Chicks shows how you can have a good meal of eggs and garden goods that only travel the short distance from your backyard.

2. Diverting Food and Yard “Waste” Out of Landfills. Chickens can help convert biomass “wastes” into organic assets such as fertilizer, compost, garden soil and eggs. This can save BIG TIME tax payer dollars from being spent solid waste management streams.

3. Decrease Oil Consumption and Lower Carbon Footprints. Commercial food systems cannot work without oil. Over 17% of America’s oil is used in agricultural production and, about 25% of this oil is used for fertilizer. The total energy input of food production, processing, packaging, transporting and storing is greater than the calories consumed. It is estimated that every person in this country requires about one gallon of oil per day just to bring food to the table. How sustainable is that? Chickens can help America kick the oil habit by decreasing the amount of oil products used in feeding ourselves ... and, at the same time, keep landfills from filling up with methane-producing organic matter.

City Chicks ushers in a new paradigm of how to use chickens in a variety of roles that help decrease carbon footprints, save tax payer dollars and support local food supply production. And all this is done in a way that is biologically sustainable, economically equitable, and serves us, our communities, our Earth and the future generations of all beings.

How do you become a Chicken Have-More Club member? You already are! Anyone who is participating in the local foods movements, who believes they have a right to produce their own food, and/or who is interested in conservation ways to help restore and preserve our environment is automatically a club member.

May the flock be with YOU!
Pat Foreman

Thomas Kriese said...

Pat, that's an excellent comment! Could you please send me an email so I can connect with you? I can be reached at blog [at] urbanchickens [dot] net


fromchapelhilltochickenville said...

This is one of the reasons we love our chickens. Mine go nuts when they get left over rice! You should see them chase each other over a grain.


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