Doing some research shows that the fear of attracting vermin is one of the top concerns about raising chickens in a suburban/urban area. As a long time chicken owner, I have found that this is simply not true, as long as you store your feed properly you will have no more problems with vermin than anyone else.
Now for some benefits of having chickens. Having chickens has reduced the insect population around my home, especially mosquitoes, earwigs and ticks. They eat kitchen, yard, and garden scraps. They turn my compost pile by foraging in it. Their droppings, once composted, fertilize my vegetable garden. They provide my family and I with fresh, great tasting hormone-free eggs from happy chickens that aren’t kept in cages like factory farm birds.
Urban chickens can even be used as antidepressants. Whenever I feel sad or stressed, a simple session with my ladies helps me to cheer up. They do funny things, like hop up on my lap when I sit down, or chase butterflies through the yard when I let them out to forage. Our nearest neighbor, an elderly woman, enjoys them too. I often see her in the side yard smiling as she watches them.
Ever hear of oxytocin, the love hormone? It’s a stress-lowering chemical in your body that’s unleashed when you hug someone you love, including your pets. There are even therapy chickens!
I live outside Tecumseh and have several hens as pets. Pets that lay eggs! My children and I raised these hens from day old chicks (which was a great experience for them) and they have brought us much joy. They provide my young children hours of free outdoor entertainment, away from computers and TV.
I don’t have any roosters, and my hens are very quiet. Much quieter than the neighborhood dog that barks all day long. My neighbor keeps her windows open all summer and I have asked her if she can hear the chickens and she says that she can’t.
I believe everyone should have the chance to raise these entertaining and useful creatures if they so choose.