“Poulailler container”, an original creation of Farmily, credits: Farmily

Hens pecking away at our waste

On average, one hen will eat 150 kg of organic waste and produce 200 eggs a year. Two arguments that have convinced many a city dweller to adopt one or two.

There is a fashionable new place in Paris - the old Ornano de la Petite Ceinture station. It is known as La REcyclerie (french), a cultural space, restaurant - bar, and urban farm that showcases the 3Rs (Reduce - Reuse - Recycle). Going up the iron stairs leading to the railway platform, a sign announces the impending arrival of a chicken coop. Really? A chicken coop? Yes, and just a few meters from one of the busiest intersections in Paris and the famous Clignancourt flea market.

Hens are the ultimate anti-waste weapon!

Raising chickens in the city has been growing in the United States since the early 2000s, and gradually the majority of cities have legalized it. For example, New York’s Just Food association helps groups of people in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn to put chicken coops in their community gardens. In Europe, domestic chickens have been very popular since 2010. Animals that everyone agrees are very sweet and sociable and have numerous advantages. The first is of course having fresh eggs every day. A hen will lay around 200 eggs a year. Day to day, they are not a problem as they are easy to look after, and will teach the children a number of useful lessons. But above all, hens are the ultimate anti-waste weapon! They each eat 150 to 200 kg of organic waste a year. In France, each person produces an average of 354 kg of household waste a year – a considerable amount. Hens eat (almost) anything we leave: food scraps, peelings, stale bread, egg shells and sea food shells... Hens turn all this into eggs, and the droppings are an excellent natural fertilizer. A small scale model of the circular economy.

In Europe, cities are setting the standard. Increasing numbers are trying it as part of their waste management programs. For several years now Mouscron in Belgium has been offering two laying hens to any family that asks. In May 2013, a small town in the Côte-d'Or (in France) opened a communal chicken coop with about ten occupants for its 1,050 residents. The children look after the chickens and parents bring their waste to feed them. In England, several schools have chicken coops. All these initiatives have made it possible to measure the true impact of this original and inexpensive method of reducing waste and simultaneously raise public awareness to the problem.

For sure there is no end to city folk hatching their chickens!

For more information:

- A Chicken on Every Plot, a Coop in Every Backyard

“Poulailler container”, an original creation of Farmily, credits: Farmily

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