Urban chickens of the Bronx

Here's a short National Geo piece on Abu Talib overseeing the 13 chickens at the Taqwa Community Garden in the Bronx:
In 19th-century Manhattan, hogs roamed the streets and cattle grazed in public parks. Today, chickens are the urban livestock of choice, and not just in New York. City dwellers across the U.S. are adding hens to their yards and gardens, garnering fresh eggs, fertilizer, and community ties, with localities debating and updating their ordinances accordingly.
Urban Chickens (Thanks, Marilyn!)

(Photo: Ira Block)


  1. There is a great website called BackYardChickens for those who are interested in knowing more about raising more of their own urban/suburban chickens.


    (It helped me get my start this year … photos at my website if you want to see.)

  2. I grew up in midtown Kansas City, and there was a family down the street with two buffalo calves in their backyard (they ran a buffalo farm on the weekends, the calves’ mother died in birth, and they needed a lot of care during the week).

    The neighbors complained to the city, which is how we found out that our very old neighborhood was zoned to allow two pieces of livestock per lot, and that buffalo were legally considered livestock.

  3. This is wonderful news. Many years ago I lived in Richmond, VA and had a band with two performing chickens. We had to hide them from our landlord and neighbors when we rehearsed in order to avoid police involvement.

    It was also *really* difficult to get shows in the city as a result of the livestock laws. Glad to see that the country’s waking up.

  4. This is really good news that people are starting to bring the primary vectors for for diseases like HN51 into some of the densest centers of human habitation in this country. We are the masters of our own destruction…

  5. Falcon Seven – I wouldn’t say that we’re “starting” to bring chickens into cities.

    There have been chickens in cities for as long as there have been cities. There was a brief period of maybe 50 years in which there were few chickens in a small set of cities, and apparently those few cities are reverting once more to the normalcy or the past 5000 or so years.

    Granted, that’s a bit Old World-centric – there were no chickens in American cities prior to 1492. So, that brief 50-year period could be considered a nostalgic revival of precolumbian norms, maybe?

  6. At #6 “we are the masters of our own destruction..”

    This is especially true if we all depend on CAFOs and the industrial food system to provide for us.

  7. When I lived in Bed-Stuy, my bedroom window overlooked a yard full of hundreds of chickens, roosters and at least half a dozen species of unidentifiable fowl. I heard fights once or twice a day. Good times!

  8. Agree that BackyardChickens.com is a great resource for how to raise your own small flock chickens.

    Unfortunately, many cities and towns still outlaw chickens within their city limits.

    If you’re trying to figure out how to get the laws changed in your town to allow for urban chickens to begin with, check out http://urbanchickens.net

  9. #11 made me laugh WAY more than it should have XD

    And as I have said before … I love chicken posts!! ^_^

  10. The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression.

  11. What a great idea! Pets from which you can harvest menstrual secretions AND eat their flesh. Too bad bad you can’t harvest eggs from dogs or cats.

  12. Ooooh, are we menstruating eggs now? That throws fertility science a curveball, doesn’t it?

  13. Oh, and you could also, technically, eat your dogs’ and cats’ flesh, too. I just choose not to. If I had chickens, I would choose not to eat them, either. I’d love them as much as any of my pets, and give them shelter, medical attention when needed, and oh, yeah, I’d also feed them!

    Just like I’m feeding this troll. See? I just can’t help being kind and nurturing ;D

  14. My concern: how to keep them quiet? There were a couple of roosters in the lot behind my apt in Washington Heights (Manhattan) and they’d start cock-a-doodle-dooing whenever anyone in any of the surrounding apartments would turn on a light after dark. There’s a reason farmers wake up to their roosters: it’s pretty hard to ignore!

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