Raise your own urban chickens

Growing herbs and vegetables in your backyard is so last year. Why not step it up a notch and raise your own chickens.

This Sunday, the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is hosting a class called Urban Eggs: Raising Chickens and Ducks in The City. The event runs from from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and will teach you how to raise chickens and ducks in your own backyard.

You might be baffled to hear that you can even have chickens in The City. But, the truth is, you are allowed to have up to four small animals, including chickens or ducks, in your backyard.

The class, led by Paul Glowaski of Dinner Bell Farm in Grass Valley, will cover all of the information you need to know about chicken and duck farming. Glowaski will cover important topics like how to raise your own chicks, what kind of shelter they require, how much food and water they need, and how to keep them safe from diseases.

Participants will leave the class with a basic understanding of how to legally and lovingly take care of their new family pet.

Raising backyard chickens is an extension of an urban farming movement that has gained popularity across the country. City-dwellers have opted for raising their own poultry or growing their own food to cut down on the energy usage and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

WorldWatch Institute said the urban chicken movement has grown significantly within the past five years and expanded to cities where raising hens was already legal, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and our very own San Francisco.

Other cities such as Ann Arbor, Michigan; Ft. Collins, Colorado; and South Portland, Maine have all recently passed ordinances allowing residents to raise backyard poultry.

When all is said and done, Jac Smit, president of the Urban Agriculture Network, said it best when he told WorldWatch:

“Raising chickens on a backyard stoop, especially if you have children, is agreeable. How you convince the kids you’ll cut its neck and eat it is another thing.”

The eggs should be easier to explain.

The cost for the class is $25 for Botanical Garden members, $35 for non-members. To register, download the form from their website. Then visit this page for details on how to turn it in.