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Chickens In the City

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The stereotypical farm includes rolling hills, acres of pastures, big red barns, corn fields and livestock. However, recently, farms are taking on a new look.

Depending on the locations and the zoning ordinances enforced, city dwellers are beginning to start farms of their own on rooftops or in small gated yards. These urban farms allow for the growth and production of fruits, vegetables, flowers, compost, bees, and most recently, chickens.

Cities around the country are now allowing residents to raise flocks for meat and egg production.

“While there are countless reasons people might choose to raise chickens in the city, the one I hear more than any other is a desire to get closer to the food they eat,” CJ Pomerantz, manager of marketing and advertising at Advantek, said. “It’s definitely an area of opportunity for urban and suburban pet retailers who can devote a few square feet of floor space to it, as this is a segment of the market that will only continue to grow.”

With more people raising a flock of chickens in an urban setting, it means the opportunity to draw in a brand-new customer base. This can be done by selling everything from large chicken cages and fencing, to smaller items like treats and water bottles.

Since most urban chicken farms lack open space, providing the flock with a proper coop is of utmost importance for city farming to keep chickens safe from predators and out of the elements.

“A good hutch should be made out of woods like fir and cedar, both of which are naturally insulating, and will keep the hutch warmer,” Pomerantz said. “Some fir, like the kind we use for Advantek’s Gone Green line, is also naturally insect and water repellant, making for a more natural hutch with fewer chemicals used to weatherproof it.”

Advantek produces an entire line of Gone Green chicken hutches in various sizes and shapes to accommodate flocks of all sizes and species.  Each model contains a fenced pen area, enclosed nesting boxes and a resting perch.

They also produce The Farmhouse chicken hutch that includes a secured run, and a nesting and roosting area that is separately secured inside of the run.

Ware Manufacturing has just about everything a retailer needs to get started selling to customers interested in this category, including their Pet Chicken Complete Kit, which includes a nest box, feeder, egg holder and toy.

They also have a variety of hutches, like the Chick-N-Cottage, which has a large screened porch area complete with two removable roots, and is easy for customers to assemble with just a screwdriver.

Keeping Them Well-Fed 

To encourage a healthy lifestyle, it is crucial to offer the flock a well-rounded diet.

Rosedale Mills in Pennington, N.J.,  offers their customers Purina’s SunFresh Blends.

Purnia feeds come in both pellets and crumbles. The crumbles are broken down pellets which allow for easier consumption, especially for hatched chicks. The Start & Grow blend offers the correct rations of proteins to ensure the healthy raising of hatched chicks, while the Flock Raiser blend can be used all throughout the lifecycle.

Manna Pro also offers a complete line of food products, like their Manna Pro Chick Starter, which is formulated for the development of active immunity to coccidiosis, and for increased rate of weight gain and improved feed efficiency in replacement chickens.

They also offer Oyster Shell, which is chosen by most backyard flock owners as the source their hens need for extra calcium, which is stored in the bones and feathers to be used when producing egg shells.

Start Simple

While carrying large bags of feed or hutches may not be appropriate for some stores because of space constraints, there are other ways to retailers to jump on the urban chicken farming trend with water bottles, treats, scoopers and other accessories that don’t take up as much room.

For example, Lixit offers a product that can work as a chicken feeder or waterer, because it has a reversible base. Use one side for food and the other side for water. Only one SKU is needed.

Ware offers a reusable egg container that holds 12 eggs, has an easy carry handle and is made of sanitary plastic construction.

And when it comes to treats, there are more options than you may know what to do with.

Happy Hen Treats, a premium line of treats for chickens, offers everything from a Mealworm and Corn Party Mix, which is a blend of all-natural dried mealworms and cracked corn, to their Seed and Worm Treat Cake, which contains a blend of mealworms, sunflower seeds, peanuts, oats and raisins.

They also offer Mealworm Frenzy, in a 3.5 ounce resealable bag, as well as in 10 ounce and 30 ounce resealable jars. It gives chickens the taste they like without the inconvenience of live worms.

- Michelle Maskaly and Erin Salley

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