Mother Earth Living

What the Cluck! Raise Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens are fun pets that provide fresh eggs, eat pests and recycle food waste. Raising chickens in the city is a cinch. Here's how.

Nicki Trench raises fluffy Buff Orpington hens.
Photo Courtesy Nicki Trench
Choose docile breeds if you have or live near children.
Many heritage breeds have natural foraging abilities, keeping yards pest-free.
Chickens make amusing pets.
The Chantecler, the only breed ever developed in Canada, has a calm, gentle personality, can withstand harsh winter climates, and is capable of laying 120 to 180 large eggs a year.
Photo Courtesy American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
The Dominique, the first chicken breed developed in the United States, has natural foraging abilities and can lay 230 to 275 medium brown eggs a year.
Photo Courtesy American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
The Java, considered the second-oldest breed of chicken developed in the United States, is calm and sociable, lays up to 150 dark brown eggs a year, and makes a great meat chicken.
Photo Courtesy American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Kippen House coops are custom-designed, handmade and feature “living roof” gardens. They're available in the Seattle area: Learn to make your own coop at
Photo Courtesy Kippen House
The Rhode Island Red chicken, the official state bird of Rhode Island, is docile and friendly, lays 200 to 300 brown eggs a year, makes a great meat chicken, and is known for its vigor and ability to produce eggs under marginal conditions.
Photo Courtesy American Livestock Breeds Conservancy


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