How to Grow Chickens in New York City

Noah Leff is the proud Papa of a two-year-old son and three one-year-old hens. While the hens and Leff are not biologically related, they are family nonetheless. Leff even started Victory Chicken, a company that sets up chicken coops and delivers four-month-old hens for people in the city so everyone can have the pleasure of having a chicken for a pet.

I know what you’re thinking…
I don’t have room for a chicken coop!
Coops are compact in size and could fit on a large balcony, patio, a roof or backyard provided that the coops are kept in a spot that has a barrier from the wind.
What about in the winter when it snows?
There are chickens that can handle that! Leff recommends all New Yorkers purchase the same hens he owns and delivers at Victory Chicken which are Rhode Island Reds and Araucanas, Chilean Mountain Chickens. Leff’s coops that he sells are insulated making chickens the perfect outside pets down to -10 degrees. Besides, lets not forget chickens are covered in chicken fat.
I don’t know where to buy chicken feed my bodega doesn’t sell any.
You can sign up with places like Victory Chicken who will deliver the feed, order it online, or supplement a little feed with food scraps from your own dinner table. PETCO’s in the city sell chicken feed for $9 a bag and they also sell diet chicken feed in case you think your hens are looking a little on the heavy side after all your leftover table scraps.
Is this legal?
Yes! There isn’t a limit in New York as to how many chickens you can keep on your property provided that you are not creating a public nuisance. And hens unlike roosters would never create a nuisance.

Leff, his son Marko and their pet chicken Shasta

Can you pet a pet chicken?
“Chickens are nice companions as pets,” says Leff. In fact, Leff’s son said “chicken” before he said “Daddy” – now what does that tell you about how cute and cuddly chickens can be. Chickens enjoy being stroked and held, they will follow you around if you let them outside of their coop and are pretty funny and entertaining to watch. They are sociable creatures. It is why Leff recommends if you are going to get chickens that you get more than one since they do get lonely.
How many eggs will I be getting?
Lets face it the biggest perk here is the eggs. Unless you are crazy and consume more than four eggs a day, you can say goodbye to buying eggs at the supermarket and hoping you didn’t break any on your walk back home. If you have two or three hens you’re looking at 12-18 eggs a week for seven months out of the year. That is enough to make you want to do the chicken dance.
This sounds expensive.
According to Leff, it costs about $5 a month per chicken for feed and hay if you are maintaining them yourself. If you are subscribing to a service that delivers the supplies, it is around $10 a month per chicken.

This is how to take care of a chicken…
Feed them. This is the most frequent obligation one has when it comes to a chicken because it is a daily chore. But hey, if you want your hens to be making the eggs that you are eating it is only fair that they get to peck at something also.
DO NOT feed your chickens avocados or uncooked potato, as they are poisonous to chickens.
Dump the litter. This needs to be done twice a week and replaced with new hay because no one likes to hang out with his or her own crap, even chickens.
Water. Change the water every 3 days.
Let them out of their coop to allow the chickens to roam about twice a week, either in an open space or room so they can stretch their legs. This is a pretty easy task that does not require too much supervision since chickens can’t fly so you know they are not going to make a run for it.

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