The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Urban Poultry

Backyard Chickens in Massachusetts

Raising your own chickens in urban or suburban neighborhoods is becoming more and more popular. Keeping backyard poultry offers a fresh, nutritious, and sustainable source of eggs or meat. 

The additional benefits of poultry-raising are also attractive:

  • A small flock of poultry can reduce the amount of organic food waste that ends up in the landfill. Chickens will happily gobble up your leftovers and spoiled foods.
  • Children love interacting with chickens! It's a great way to teach them about life cycles, animal behavior, and give them a chance to be involved in producing their own food. 
  • Poultry create a wonderful source of balanced organic fertility for your edible and ornamental gardens. You can either let your chickens roam (with prudence) in your garden or you can integrate their manure or bedding into your compost. 
  • What better way to make friends with your neighbors than by offering them some of your fresh eggs or meat? 

Do you know if your town or city allows poultry-keeping? Take a look at our database to find out (Summary below, updated May 2017)

Are you unsatisfied with your town's current regulations? Many citizen activists have been successful in changing their town's regulations. By doing some organizing, you can progress your town toward a more secure and sovereign future. Here are few resources to get you started:

 

Fun historical fact: back in the early part of the last century (1917 - 1918) the following was published in multiple poultry magazines: 


The text reads:
Uncle Sam Expects You To Keep Hens and Raise Chickens​

Two Hens in the Back Yard for Each Person in the House Will Keep a Family In Fresh Eggs​

EVEN the smallest back yard has room for a flock large​
enough to supply the house with eggs. The cost of main-​
taining such a flock is small. Table and kitchen waste pro-​
vide much of the feed for the hens. They require little attention​
only a few minutes a day.​

An interested child, old enough to take a little responsibility,​
can care for a few fowls as well as a grown person.​

Every back yard in the United States should contribute its share to a bumper crop of poultry and eggs in 1918.​

In Time of Peace a Profitable Recreation​

In Time of War a Patriotic Duty​

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