I Didn’t Hear The Rooster Crow

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Every day I hear a rooster crow and hens cackle. I live in a subdivision, actually right in the middle of a city just north of Fort Worth, Texas and the city has no ordinance against back yard poultry.

Back yard chickens have become the “in thing” to have. They promise appeal, convenience of free eggs, and pets in one fluffy feathered package.

My neighbors in front, back, and beside me are growing flocks of chickens. The neighbors across the street grew up on a farm in the UK and are avid organic gardeners so the jump to raising chickens wasn’t hard for them.  They loved the idea of fresh eggs and free fertilizer production. They purchased special chickens-Anconas, Ameraucanas, Dominickers, and Rhode Island Reds. The chickens lay blue, white, and brown eggs.  At first their chickens were “free range chickens” which meant they roamed in their yard and then came across the road to my yard to scratch around in my flower beds. However, the flock was thinned when a Cooper’s Hawk took up residence in one of the trees in their yard and swooped down for a meal every time the chickens were let out to roam. They quickly adjusted the living quarters for their expensive chickens.

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The neighbors beside me built an elaborate chicken coop with a self- feeder and watering mechanism. This prevented possums and raccoons from getting at the food. Their dominickers’ had a fenced in yard for their “free range” activity.

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The Dominicker or Dominique

The neighbors behind me have chickens with a rooster. I don’t know why they haven’t fiqured out that they don’t need a rooster for egg production unless they’re hatching chicks. The only other reason for a rooster may be to warn the hens of an impending hawk. I hear the rooster everyday usually at 6AM.

Some cities don’t allow residents to keep chickens because they worry about the noise, the smell, and the rodents that are attracted to the feed. Of course, there are those who just don’t want chickens next door.

Before you decide to raise chickens there are a few things to consider:

  • Check your city’s code compliance and ordinance to make sure chickens can be raised in your backyard. If you live in a gated community, you may find this is not allowed.
  • Read everything you can about raising and caring for chickens. In hot climates like Texas, chickens require cool water and shade. But their coop should also be weather proofed for extremely cold weather and in some circumstances heated.
  • Chickens get sick just like any other pet. They can easily die without proper attention.
  • Don’t expect to take a vacation without someone to care for them. They require the same consideration you would give to any other animal or pet.
  • Realize that chickens carry salmonella. According to the CDC, contact with a chicken’s feathers or their manure is a major source of salmonellosis.

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reported on a 2012 outbreak among 195 people in 27 states. Most had contact with live chickens. “The outbreak investigation identified the largest number of human illnesses ever linked to contact with live  poultry during a single outbreak,” the MMWR report concludes, “and it underscores the ongoing risk for human salmonellosis linked to backyard flocks.”

The best way to reduce risk is adequate hand washing after touching chickens.

Chickens were part of my childhood. I don’t have chickens and  I don’t want the responsibility of cleaning up chicken coops. The smell that drifts over my fence when the wind blows is unpleasant. But I like the sound  of a hen’s cackles when she lays eggs. They are a hen’s way of saying she has produced something useful.

 Studio_RIRedBtmCkrl_7742_bc    By the way, I didn’t hear the rooster crow today. There was a rainstorm at 6AM and  he decided to sleep in.

For more information on salmonella and chickens go to: CDC.

For more information on raising chickens in your backyard go to:The Chicken Whisperer and backyardchickens.com for a variety of information, breeds, and supplies.

For books on Raising chickens in your backyard go to Amazon.com

Do you raise chickens? What are your thoughts on raising chickens in a suburban neighborhood?

 

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6 thoughts on “I Didn’t Hear The Rooster Crow

  1. At first, I was a bit put out that our neighbors bought chickens. This is a regular subdivision, not a farm! But I’ve grown accustomed to the hen cackles and it doesn’t bother me now.

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    • Anne: While I don’t mind the hens cackling, I worry about it bringing down property values even if it is the “in ” thing to do. Fortunately, our lot is just about an acre.

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  2. Neighbors tend to forget sometimes that they are not the only people in the area. While I wouldn’t necesarily want chickens next door, I definitely am beginning to hate the barking dogs and then having to clean up my lawn when they “roam” over to use my front lawn as a toilet. At least the chickens in most locations must be within a fence.

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  3. Well the barking dogs using your lawn as a toilet must be a big annoyance on both counts. Talk to your neighbor and if all else fails call animal control.

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  4. We have a friend who raises chickens. He’s a gentleman in his 80sand has lived in his location for over 50 years. He’s “grandfathered in” by the city he lives in. My husband cuts grass for him and often comes home with fresh eggs. Very nice except they’re not always clean. Now I wonder if we could contract salmonella. I will forward your article to my HB.

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  5. Lyn: I imagine a bath in bleach water would do it for cleaning eggs(1/2 oz. bleach/1 gal. water). Just put eggs in a colander and pour over. Do not submerge and soak the eggs. The same goes for raw chicken you get from the supermarket. If it touches your counter, you can spread the salmonella everywhere. So cleaning the area where the raw chicken touched is crucial. Precautions include disinfecting hands and equipment before and after handling chickens; discarding cracked eggs; and washing hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and water or disinfectant after contact with raw eggs. Also, thoroughly cooking eggs until both the yolk and white are firm can reduce the risk of Salmonella infection, but sometimes cannot completely destroy Salmonella contamination. Cooking chicken kills salmonella..

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