Myth: Many people think that chickens are dirty and smelly, which is incorrect. In actuality, only huge commercial chicken operations smell bad, and that’s because of their crowded, unsanitary, and inhumane conditions. A backyard coop with a flock of four hens requires only simple maintenance, similar to your cat’s litter box (i.e., scoop the waste once a week).
A typical laying hen produces 2 to 3 ounces of waste per day; thus a flock of four hens would produce 8 to 12 ounces per day. For comparison, one medium-sized dog produces 12 ounces of waste per day — but chicken manure can safely be composted, while dog and cat waste cannot be composted for health reasons (some parasites and infectious diseases can be transmitted from dogs and cats to humans through waste). Thus composting is the recommended method of disposing of chicken manure.
Myth: Many people think that chickens attract urban wildlife like raccoons, skunks, and opossums, which is incorrect. In actuality, urban wildlife is already here among us. So coops must be built to be predator-resistant, and chickens must be kept confined at all times for their own safety (unlike dogs and cats that are allowed to roam freely, causing problems and complaints).
Excess food, however, can attract urban wildlife and rodents (however, if you have wild bird feeders in your backyard, you run the same risk). The solution is to feed your hens inside their secure coop, and store all feed in metal garbage cans with secure lids, preferably kept inside a garage or shed.
Myth: Many people think that backyard chickens will negatively affect property values, which is incorrect. There is no legitimate evidence that indicates property values drop in communities where chickens are present. However, in online news stories about the legalization of backyard chickens, the media often report that opponents have a fear of reduced property values. So this argument is like a bogeyman: it’s not real, but is frequently employed to frighten people into a position of compliance. Remember, neighbors who want to keep chickens are just that: your neighbors. They care about the value of their homes and the quality of life in their community just as much as opponents of backyard chickens do.