The New American Farmer

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While most people wake to the sound of dogs barking or sirens wailing, Mel Cannady wakes to the sounds of chickens.

While most people wake to the sound of dogs barking or sirens wailing, Mel Cannady wakes to the sounds of chickens. She and her boyfriend, Sam Thomas, have been raising chickens on the shore of New York’s Lake Ontario since 2012.

America is built on the fields of our nation. Now, those fields have moved to backyards as the new trend of urban homesteading spreads around the nation. As the practicality of it increases, so does the demand.

Large corporations usually use “Broilers” for their chickens, while urban homesteaders raise many different kinds. Mel and Sam raise Araucanas, Marans, Barnevelders, and Black Sex Links.

Raising chickens creates a closer connection to the food one eats. On average, chickens lay one egg a day. Home species eggs range from light blue and green, to a dark reddish brown in color, making them look very different from grocery store eggs. While chickens live 8-10 years, they lay eggs for only about 6-8 years.
   
In Denver, you’re allowed to have up to eight chickens, but no roosters. Different areas have different regulations for urban homesteading, but most cities maintain the “no roosters” policy, because contrary to popular belief, roosters crow for no reason all the time, not just in the mornings.

Licenses, which cost $25 and require a valid drivers license, are available from the Denver Animal Shelter. The cost for each chicken ranges from $2.50 to $15.00.
   
Raising chickens often leads to group co-ops, where a community of urban homesteaders join to provide for each other. In co-ops if one person raises chickens and another raises goats, and a third raises bees, they share their goods with one another. 

Mel says, “It’s a lot easier than it seems, and I feel like it’s worth it. Why not have a better connection to your food and know where it’s coming from. It’s more responsible.”

 

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