Keeping chickens in your backyard can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Chickens help by eating vegetable scraps and in return provide eggs and chicken manure.
Chickens can be put to work in a 'chicken tractor' (a temporary enclosure for gardening purposes) to prepare garden beds for planting.
If allowed to free range, they love to eat weeds and they also help to control insect pests. In addition, their natural behaviours such as scratching and dust bathing are just fun to watch.
Health Warning: Whilst keeping chickens can be a rewarding experience there are potential health issues if your property is affected by Organochlorines Pesticides (OCPs). Organochlorine pesticides are man made chemicals that were used to control insects such as termites and Argentine ants in urban areas. Unfortunately they persist in the soil for a very long time. The Department of Industries and Regional Development recommend poultry do not have access to soils with OCP levels above 0.06 ppm.
Examples of the most common OCP include;
- DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane)
For more information on OCP (including a map of affected suburbs subject to the 1970s Argentine Ant eradication program) the following links may prove useful;
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Department of Health
Residents who may be concerned that their property may contain unacceptable OCP levels can now have the soil tested by the City at a nominal charge. If you would like to arrange testing please contact the City's Health Services on 9267 9267.