Wholesale Information | Sellers Who Carry Our Books | About Good Earth Publications | Contact Us



Chickens & You™ Training Series

Resources & News You Can Use

7 Myths of Urban Chickens

Chicken Have-More Plan

Chickens as Biomass Recyclers Saving BIG TIME Tax Payer Dollars

Author Pat Foreman

Speaking & Workshop Schedule


7 Myths of Urban Chickens

Click here to hear NPR’s Civic Soap Box on the 7 Myths of Urban Chickens.


There are many false beliefs and prejudices about keeping chickens. Here’s the facts about each issue.

Myth 1. Urban Chickens Carry Diseases. Fact: small flocks have literally no risk of avian flu transmission to humans. Centers for Disease Control states on their website: “There is no need at present to remove a family flock of chickens because of concerns regarding avian flu.” The 2006 Grain Report states: “When it comes to bird flu, diverse small-scale poultry is the solution, not the problem.” Salmonella is a food handling sanitary problem, not an avian problem.

Myth 2. Chickens are Noisy. Fact: laying hens — at their loudest — have about the same decibel level as human conversation (65 decibels). There are cases of flocks being kept for years without the next door neighbors knowing it. Roosters make most of the noise, and many times they’re not allowed in urban areas.

Myth 3. Waste and Odor. Fact: a forty pound dog generates more doggie-do (about ¾ pound) than ten chickens (two-thirds pounds of daily poo). Both poops are smelly, but the key is to keep the chicken manure from accumulating by composting. Composted chicken manure is valuable as a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Myth 4. Chickens Attract Predators, Pests & Rodents. Fact: Predators and rodents are already living in urban areas. Wild bird feeders, pet food, gardens, fish ponds, bird baths, trash waiting to be collected all attract raccoons, foxes, rodents and flies. Modern micro-flock coops, such as chicken tractors, elevated coops, and fencing provide ways of keeping, and managing, family flocks that eliminate concerns about such pests.

And about those pests . . . chickens are voracious carnivores and will seek and eat just about anything that moves including ticks (think Lymes disease), fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, even mice, baby rats and small snakes.

Myth 5. Property Values Will Decrease. Fact: 7 out of 10 cities on Forbes Magazine’s “Most Desirable Cities” List for 2010 allow Backyard Chickens”. There has not been 1 documented case of a family flock next door decreasing a property value. In fact, some Realtors are offering free chicken coops with a home sale.

Myth 6. Coops are Ugly. Fact: micro-flock coop designs can be totally charming, upscale and even whimsical. Common design features include blending in with the local architectural, matching the slope of the roof and complementing color schemes. Myth 7. What Will Neighbors Think? Fact: you can’t control what anyone thinks, much less your neighbor. But, in my experience, once folks understand the advantages and charms of chickens, most prejudice and fear evaporates; especially when you share some heart-healthy, good-for-you eggs from your hens.

Often overlooked is the value of chickens as clucking civic bio-recyclers. Chickens can divert tons of “waste” from the trash collections. Chickens will eat just about any kitchen “waste”, including “gone-by” leftovers that have seasoned in the refrigerator. Combine their manure with grass clippings and leaves to create compost and top soil.

Chickens are charming, amicable and entertaining beings that bring so many advantages to local agriculture and home gardens. They are truly “pets with benefits”.

May the flock be with you! Quoth the Chicken: "Evermore!" — Patricia Foreman

Open Copyright 2010, Good Earth Publications, inc.

The Chicken Have More Plan

" A Little Land—A LOT of Living

About 60 years ago, Ed and Carolyn Robinson wrote a classic book called: The Have-More Plan

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

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

1. Enhancing Backyard Agriculture. Urban gardening and farm-yards are on the verge of a giant leap forward, ushering in a newGarbage worker trash can — 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 to Create Top Soil. 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 tdefense chicken celeryhis 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.


4. National Defense & Emergency Preparedness. Whoever controls your food supply controls you. Food supply — or lack of it — has created and destroyed civilizations since time began. In natural disasters food can become a matter of life or death. Keeping local chickens is even more important in times of trouble. Even with disasters, folks can still have a good meal of eggs or chicken stew. Locally produced nutritious food helps keep America strong and safe.

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.

May the flock be with YOU! — Patricia Foreman

Open Copyright 2010, Good Earth Publications, inc.

Chickens Working as Clucking Civic Employees Saving BIG TIME Tax Payer Dollars!

There are many warm-feathery reasons to keep family flocks, but the most economic and politically compelling reason is to employ chickens to bio-recycle kitchen, garden and yard “waste”. A policy (and goal) of Rockbridge County is to ultimately achieve a “zero-waste” trash stream. In a zero-waste system there isn’t any waste. Everything becomes “residuals” that can recycled to one form or another. Everything has value and is transformed into something else useful. Household food and yard residuals can be bio-recycled and transformed into compost, garden and top soil. Every single leftover piece of pizza, stale bread, moldy cheese, hamburgers, hotdogs, old potato chips, popcorn, food cleaned out from the refrigerator that has “gone by”, and even that old mincemeat cake from last Christmas, could be bio-recycled — or composted — employing family flocks.

Here’s how it works. A chicken eats about 8 pounds of food every month. That’s almost 100 pounds of food each year per chicken. Some of this “chicken feed” can come from your kitchen and yard instead of a store-bought bag. “Big deal” you think. “That’s not so much.” But what if only 100 households had 6 chickens. That would have the potential to bio-recycle around 60,000 pounds (30 tons) of food residuals. (6 chickens)(100 pounds/year)(100 households) = 60,000 pounds.

And it gets better. Use the chicken manure (high in nitrogen) to compost grass clippings, fallen leaves and garden waste (high in carbon) and you have the formula to make compost. Compost builds garden soils which in turn can grow vegetables which can feed people. The amount of yard waste, combined with the food residuals totals tons and tons of biomass that can easily bio-recycled in backyards.

This is a green, no cost, low tech, easy-to-do approach trash management and the solid waste management stream.

Keeping chickens is not for everyone; and it shouldn’t be. A general rule of thumb is that about 5% to 10% of a households might be interested in keeping a family flock.

Here’s the bottom line. Just by changing a few lines of code to allow—and even encourage—residents to keep family flocks and do composting, can result in a significant amount of biomass “waste” to be diverted from the trash collection stream and kept out of landfills.

Many cities in Europe are using this strategy effectively. One is the city of Diest in Flanders, Belgium. They officially employ chickens to reduce their trash management budget by purchasing and giving laying hens to residents. That’s right, city officials are employing chickens as an economical solution to their costly problem of trash management. And they are saving significant amounts tax payer dollars. From the city manager’s point of view, the chickens’ production of eggs, compost (topsoil), and fertilizer are simply spin-off added benefits to residents. These poultry produced benefits are to you, your yard and garden, your community and our environment. Chickens are truly pets with benefits.

There is more detailed information about employing clucking civic chicken workers in: City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers.

May the flock be with YOU! — Patricia Foreman

Open Copyright 2010, Good Earth Publications, inc.


Good Earth Publications

20 GreenWay Place

Buena Vista, VA 24416

Phone & Fax: (540) 261-8775

eMail: Info@GoodEarthPublications.com