Poultry Farming In Your Studio Apartment
Most people have heard of Victory Gardens, which were a public reaction to food rationing during wartime. However back in the day there were far fewer apartment dwellers than today. The benefits of growing one’s own food are legion. Regrettably, a significant disadvantage to apartment dwelling during a Great Depression is the lack of available space for the raising of crops and/or animals for subsistence & income. While shared community gardens can be helpful in this regard, unless you camp-out on your little plot, it’s more-than-likely that less industrious sorts will plunder your hard-won foodstuffs in your absence.
Certain crops lend themselves to indoor, smaller-scale cultivation. However the most economically viable of these are neither typically recognized as foodstuffs nor are they yet legal outside of California. On the other hand, a so-called feed operation can be scaled appropriately to coexist with near-normal apartment life. This post will focus on developing an Apartment Poultry Operation. A subsequent post will discuss another suitable candidate, a Bath Tub Trout Farm.
As far as the actual selection, care & feeding of these little rascals, we will refer you to a more general poultry site that will tell you everything you need to know: http://www.backyardchickens.com
This post however is meant to advise you of some of the the choices & challenges unique to the apartment dwelling farmer.
The Density of your operation should be guided by the standards used by professional poultry growers ( http://www.apppa.org/ ). That said, if for example you allow 2 SQ FT per chicken, a 600 SQ FT apartment will max out at 300 free ranging chickens. It seems hardly worth the effort. However, if you cage & stack your chickens (allowing 1 FT per cage level & given an 8FT ceiling height, 8 levels of cages), you could be prepping as many as 2400 chickens for market in the comfort of your Convertable. An exciting prospect indeed!
Apartment Poultry Producers face challenges with their neighbors similar to that of the large commercial growers. Much like the refrain of “NIMBA” (“Not In My Back Yard”) often heard by commercial growers from their neighbors, Apartment Poultry Producers hear “NIMHaWa” (“Not In My Hall Way”). Therefore, keeping the neighbors oblivious to your operation is key to your successful endeavor. In that regard, noise can be an early giveaway that you are running a home-based business. There’s nothing like a couple thousand chickens clucking away all day & night to push the next door neighbors right over the edge. And a rooster heard crowing at dawn can engender a reaction rivaling that of a rabid dog in full frothy glory. Therefore, to mask the ambient noise of your operation, it is recommended that you play music such as The Crystal Method
or The Chemical Brothers at extremely high volume 24/7. This has been found to be a tremendously effective mask and, as a side benefit, offers further encouragement for your neighbors to assiduously avoid you.
An important aspect of any Apartment Poultry Operation is the proper handling of waste. One handling method that provides the dual benefit of waste elimination and biofuel creation is biodigestion, whereby waste is converted to methane in a biodigester (a specially modified, plastic covered bathtub). While biodigestion is without question a viable technology for DIY applications (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodigester) , we believe that the High Rise Farmer derives a much greater benefit utilizing the bath tub for purposes of a Trout Farm. Therefore, our research suggests the most effective & expeditious method for disposal of your little cluckers’ poop is to chuck it right out the window. That’s right. As we here like to say, “Swoop down on the poop, let it droop to the stoop!” If however your apartment lacks operable windows, your building’s interior waste chute will typically provide a reasonable substitute. In either case, as long as you keep The Crystal Method and The Chemical Brothers cranked up, Building Management will be hard-pressed to discover where all of that chicken guano is originating. Nevertheless, remember to have your umbrella open as you exit the building. You never know which of the other tenants may also be chicken farmers (although their loud music MAY be a tip-off).
Hopefully we have given you the encouragement to explore more avenues of animal husbandry than you may have previously.
Keep an eye out for future posts on the topic of high rise agriculture. Happy farming!