About three years ago, I wrote an article on the popularity of raising backyard chickens, and why it might not be a bad idea to consider allowing tenants to keep either individual or shared coops on your property. If you were among those who laughed at the idea, it may be time to reconsider.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, “Raising backyard chickens is an extension of an urban farming movement that has gained popularity nationwide. Home-raised livestock or agriculture avoids the energy usage and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.” Additionally, the quote from my last article begs repeating:
Backyard chickens have become so mainstream that retailers from Wal-Mart to Williams-Sonoma carry coops. Cities from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, have revised their laws to allow small flocks. After more than a year of study, the Richmond County City Council (WASH) this spring agreed to allow residents to keep up to four chickens. Rob Ludlow, the owner of BackyardChickens.com, said his community forum has grown from 50 members to 200,000 in the past six years.
Yet, avoiding energy usage and carbon emissions aren’t the only reasons why people are turning to the chicken way of life. A more sustainable way of obtaining food is a major driver, but companionship is just as important for many chicken-raisers.
As a property owner or manager, the thought of chickens may give you heartburn. The noise…the smell…the noise…it may be hard to see the benefits. Yet, it’s really not the chickens who are loud…it’s roosters. And, you can have one without the other. Roosters are only necessary if tenants are asking for baby chicks. Chickens lay eggs without them and are relatively quiet on their own. In fact, any noise they make is akin to a small yard dog. They also are relatively low maintenance, and can be kept clean with proper care.
As far as true benefits, we learn from research that a growing one’s food, in effect, “gets people together, fosters tenant loyalty, and encourages further community involvement. Loyalty? Absolutely. It comes from the desire to watch the chickens grow and experience the fruits of one’s own labor.
Ready, set, coop!
If you’ve been approached for chicken coop approval, you’re not alone. Apartment managers everywhere are feeling the pressure. But before you say ‘yes,’ you must first make sure your property is zoned to allow them. If you find that it is, then my best recommendation is to include a clause or amendment in your lease that is specific to the construction and maintenance or participation of the coop and its residents. There should also be language about tenant accountability for rehoming the chickens and discarding the coop if and when there is no longer interest in maintaining them.
Or…you can just call the professionals at Class A Management. Chickens? We got that covered, too. Call us today at 817-284-1411, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.