Chicken farming in Tulsa backyards on the rise

Chicken farming in Tulsa backyards on the rise
Posted at 4:50 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 23:16:34-04

TULSA - Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side, of course. But what happens when the "other side of the road" means leaving rural living for a more urban lifestyle?

It's happening more often in Tulsa as residents are merging the cityscape and the country-side by raising chickens in their own backyards.

Lori Beth McDonald is one of those Tulsans who has chosen to "slow down" and have a farm while living in the city.

She says raising her chickens - Johnny, Batgirl, Emily, Moonbeam and others - is shaping a life much like she remembers her great-grandparents living.

“I had memories of helping her feed the chickens, and the funnest thing was going to gather the eggs when you're a kid,” said McDonald. "I love my chickens. They're a pet."

The city ordinance allows a resident to have up to six chickens within Tulsa city limits.

"That's really a progressive thing about Tulsa," said McDonald. Being able to have her own backyard farm allows her to save money on eggs, which she said taste better, too.

“Your own fresh chicken eggs are so much better than what you get in the grocery store.”

According to the USDA, a carton of eggs costs nearly $3 in Oklahoma. Local dealers say the average cost of just one chicken is about $10 and it can lay one to two eggs per day.

It's not just the money-saving aspect to raising your chickens that attracts people to do it. Rachel Johnson of Gypsy Hen Poultry in Collinsville said there are health benefits to consider.

"Anything that's not in the cage is better than that type of commercial production," Johnson said. "So there's actually less cholesterol and higher Omega-3s in your foraged, free range eggs."

As a breeder and seller, Johnson said the most important part of her work is being an advocate for backyard farming.

“I think it's here to stay because we've become increasingly disconnected from agriculture perhaps as a society,” she said.

That's a message that McDonald stands behind.

“If we want to teach our children where our food comes from, and not have these massive farms of different animals that are cooped up."

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