Backyard Farming

The urban chicken-farming trend flies into SJ County

A surprising number of San Joaquin families are welcoming a new kind of pet to their homes—chickens. Once reserved for farms, the feathered friends are now taking up residence in residential backyards in a trend known as urban chicken farming.

To welcome your own flock, you don’t need a lot of space. Simply a coop, feed, water, and some light bedding will do, plus grit or gravel to help them digest food.

Danielle Bermingham’s family of five—she and her husband have three boys—welcomed chickens to their Tracy home in 2018.

“We decided to get chickens… so my oldest son (Case, 5) could participate in 4-H,” Danielle says.

Today, the family still raises them on property, with ½-acre for the chickens to roam. While they aren’t quite like other pets, and Danielle says she wouldn’t go out and pet them, they are certainly good for more than saving money on eggs.

“They have started eating some of the pesky bugs around the yard,” she says. And, “the kids love them! It has helped our oldest learn about responsibilities and what goes into raising an animal. It is his duty to check for eggs, let them out to wonder, check food and water, and to put them back in their coop at the end of the day.”

Other benefits include feathery garbage disposals (you can feed them kitchen scraps like you would a dog), natural compost makers, and companionship.

Urban Chicken Farming By the Numbers
Information provided by Poultry Science

71% of chicken owners have fewer than ten chickens

70% have kept chickens for less than five years

57% of people keep chickens as pets

95% noted food for home use as a reason to keep chickens

95% of owners say the eggs and meat taste better than store-bought

40% of owners consult feed stores for advice on chicken rearing

23% of owners said zoning laws regarding residential chickens have been of concern

1 Comment

  1. I Love this article.
    I was a proud chicken mother here in San joaquin county, Woodbridge. My home is little more than a third of a acre. Netherless because my home is in a urban rural development the county has told me that I can’t have them. This is very unfortunate to my family that can’t only have the joy of raising chickens, sustainable gardening, but I can’t sustain my family with they’re eggs. The county claims that a rural urban development in San Joaquin can only have house pets and three off each kind. They’re complaint is “it can cause neighbors dogs to bark excessively.”
    Well I would love to help change that.
    I would love to own chickens again.

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