The new weird in Austin

Slate Hill Farm. Puopolo farmhouse. Close-up of chickens walking on grounds outside of house.
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

The city of Austin has the noble goal of wanting to produce zero waste by the year 2040. To reduce the amount of trash that the city sends to landfills by 90%, they are turning to an unlikely ally—chickens.

Chickens, as it turns out, are great waste reducers thanks to all the scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings, that they eat and Austin wants to conscript them into their battle against waste. The Texas capital just announced that they are so eager for people to start raising chickens in their backyards that they are willing to pay them to do it. Chicken enthusiasts can now get $75 from the city for turning their backyards into chicken coops, local news station KVUE reported.

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The program is part of Austin Resource Recovery's Home Composting Rebate Program, which gives Austinites a chance to buy a chicken coop and sign up to attend chicken keeping classes, which will teach city dwellers the ropes about living with feathered friends. In the classes, they'll learn about what chickens can and can't eat, the basics of egg collecting, and, hopefully, if they want to keep their neighbors happy, they'll learn the difference between a chicken a rooster. Through the program, Austinites can also submit a rebate application online and receive a $75 check from the city for chicken-raising expenses.

The program is already a hit with Austinites and the first round of classes is full of soon-to-be urban farmers. The city says it is planning to offer more classes soon. You can learn more here.