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City Waste Reduction through Raising Chickens
Adapted from

Austin Resource Recovery Service Logo

Austin Resource Recovery, a City of Austin service, is working to reach Zero Waste by 2040, which means reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent. As part of this effort, the city developed The Chicken Keeping Rebate Program, which supports the Zero Waste goal by educating residents on ways to keep food scraps, yard trimmings and food-soiled paper out of the landfill.

As an incentive, the program pays participants a rebate to raise backyard chickens. Those interested in the Austin Resource Recovery's Home Composting program attend a free "chicken keeping class," buy a chicken coop, submit a rebate application online and receive a $75 check from the city for their efforts.

"Chickens recycle your food scraps while giving you fresh eggs and creating healthy soil," the city said. If chickens are allowed to free range, the soil can be improved by the tilling action of their scratching. Chickens allowed to forage in your yard or on your property also eat insects, reducing the number of 'bugs' in the area.

A few simple suggestions for raising chicken:

  • Don't build the coop near your neighbor's house or near your home's windows.
  • Protect your chickens from household pets, such as cats and dogs, which are natural predators.
  • Provide a dry, clean hen house and run for your chickens.
  • Supply plenty of quality feed and fresh water.
  • If you want your chickens to lay, consider a layer feed.
  • Chickens are social animals, so keep four or five in a coop at a time.
  • It's best to keep your chickens out of the garden while crops are growing, as they love fresh vegetables.
  • When the garden harvest has been taken in, let them scratch and forage and they'll help with clean up.

For information on chicken keeping classes in the Austin area, visit

Chickens looking happy

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