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Raising urban chickens provides learning opportunities in sustainable living

DIRT THERAPY By Marianne Taylor
DIRT THERAPY By Marianne Taylor

By Marianne Taylor

Want to add to your already green lifestyle of solar panels, drought tolerant landscapes and rain barrels? Well say hello to the hens—but first, be sure check with your city regarding chicken L.O.R.E. (Law and Ordinances and your Rights and Entitlement) before you go any greener. Currently, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach have a “green light” to raise these fine-feathered fowls as long as there are no roosters in the group.

Raising chickens is the next step in true sustainability at home. Farm fresh eggs couldn’t be easier and would be in abundance right outside your own backdoor. The health benefits from raising your own hens include more nutritious eggs that are fresher than store bought, yolk is darker yellow and provides substantially more Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids, plus less saturated fat and less cholesterol—now that’s something to cluck about.

If you choose to start raising chickens for the delicious meat, the taste is simply incredible and free from chemicals and hormones. Chickens are also perfect solutions for naturally fertilizing your garden and a substitute for pesticides eating away all the bad bugs.

What a great learning experience to begin with your kids at any age—growing, feeding chicks and gathering eggs. Although easy to raise, chickens require little attention other than fresh water, food and a chicken coop. But don’t be fooled, going greener can be costly. Depending on your coop design and chickens you purchase, things can get expensive, so do your research and check local poultry purveyors and for more online resources.

Want to learn more about raising chickens from the experts?

Join us this weekend Saturday, June 25 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Reata Park and Event Center in San Juan Capistrano for a free class on raising backyard chickens with the UCCE Master Gardeners of OC sharing the latest information from the University of California on the best techniques for raising chickens without raising cane in your neighborhood. For more details, visit

Marianne Taylor, of San Juan Capistrano, is the founder and executive director of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens, a 501(c)(3) teaching gardening and life skills as a way of empowering, engaging and connecting people. Goin Native focuses on educating local families, special needs adults, seniors, at-risk youth and members of the military.

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