Rearing chickens in urban areas


  • Animals
  • Sunday, 28 Jun 2020

Pullet Buffs, which are hens that are less than a year old and have not started laying eggs yet.

It is a bit more difficult to legally keep chickens in one’s back yard if one lives in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. Laws and regulations concerning the ownership of backyard chickens vary based on location.

Not only do the laws regarding chickens tend to be stricter, but factors such as heat and predators may deter one from keeping chickens.

However, this doesn’t mean raising chickens in this country is impossible. Here are five tips on how to raise chickens safely and legally in Malaysia.

Research local laws

The most important thing when it comes to keeping chickens in Malaysia is researching the local council’s laws. These laws tend to vary greatly from region to region, so it’s important to do research beforehand to avoid getting into a legal predicament.

For example, in the city of Klang, Selangor, ownership of livestock is entirely prohibited in urban residential areas. These laws are put in place to avoid health risks such as avian flu and to protect urban residents from nuisances.

According to the Local Government Act 1976, if animals start to become a nuisance to neighbours, owners can face severe punishment. Officers will issue a warning to owners, but if owners fail to comply, they risk getting a hefty fine and up to six months of jail time.

Pick a quiet breed

Due to the strict laws regarding animals becoming a nuisance, it’s wise to pick the breed of chicken carefully. Noise level tends to be one of the main reasons people living in residential areas may see chickens as a nuisance, so it’s best to pick a breed that is quiet and won’t bother neighbours.

The Buff Orpington chicken is large, attractive and known for being docile.The Buff Orpington chicken is large, attractive and known for being docile.

According to Chickens And More, there are plenty of chicken breeds that are great for urban areas because of how quiet they are. For example, the Buff Orpington, the Dominique and the Cochin are all perfect choices.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid choosing a rooster for a backyard flock. Many cities prohibit owning a rooster anyway because of how loud they can be.

A Cochin hen with her chicks.A Cochin hen with her chicks.

A secure coop

Regardless of location, keeping backyard chickens requires keeping the flock far away from predators that may injure or kill the birds. In North America, common chicken predators include foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. However, in Malaysia, there is a different species that may put chickens at risk: snakes.

It important to build or purchase a chicken coop that will protect the birds from sneaky predators.It important to build or purchase a chicken coop that will protect the birds from sneaky predators.

Snakes are known to slither into chicken coops and steal eggs from nesting boxes. They can even attack and kill live chickens. It’s therefore important to build or purchase a chicken coop that will protect the birds from these sneaky predators.

A coop should provide plenty of ventilation for the birds, but have small enough ventilation holes that snakes cannot slither through. It’s also a good idea to build the coop several inches into the dirt so snakes cannot get into the coop by slithering underneath. Coops should have multiple perches or roosts to allow the birds to seek shelter higher up should a snake find its way into a coop.

A good waterer

Malaysia's hot and humid weather almost year-round is not ideal for backyard chickens. Fowls are quite susceptible to overheating, which can bring about various health conditions and illnesses.

It’s especially important in hot climates to purchase a large, quality waterer for backyard chickens. Dehydration can cause the fowls to overheat very quickly. In fact, chickens will not eat if they are dehydrated, which in turn prevents them from laying eggs.

It’s important to purchase a waterer that can hold a lot of water as well as keep the water cool for the chickens.

The water must be replenished daily or even twice a day, depending on how many chickens are in the coop.
Managing the smell

Another factor that needs to be managed when keeping backyard chickens is waste. The animals may be declared as a nuisance by neighbours if their smell becomes excessive and easily detectable. It’s important to develop ways of managing the smell and quantity of waste produced by chickens.

A great method managing chicken waste is composting. It is the perfect way to cover the smell of chicken waste while producing compost material that can be used in gardens to help plants grow larger and healthier.

One of the easiest methods of composing chicken litter is known as the deep-litter method. This is done by covering soiled chicken litter with fresh litter on a regular basis, allowing the soiled litter underneath to decompose. After several months, the litter is shovelled out from the coop and is ready to be used as compost material.

Summary

Although keeping backyard chickens may seem complicated, it’s still entirely possible.

By doing prior research on the local laws, choosing a quiet breed of chicken, and taking the proper steps to protect the birds, one can keep a backyard flock with few complications.


Chris Lesley is the editor at chickensandmore.com, a fourth-generation poultry keeper, and animal lover.

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Chickens , Orpington , Dominique , Cochin , pullet

   

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