I have wanted a pet chicken since I was four years old. Penny the Henny, I would call her. She would live in a chicken coop in my backyard, lay perfect eggs and we would be best friends. But 22 years later, I still don’t have a chicken, and now I don’t even have a backyard. But if I moved to Austin, Texas, I could get a backyard and Penny the Henny AND get paid for doing it. Seriously, this is no joke: The city will pay you to keep chickens in your yard.
“Chickens recycle your food scraps while giving you fresh eggs and creating healthy soil,” the city said in an email.
Cluck Cluck—All The Way To The Bank
Not only is Austin offering free classes that teach you how to keep chickens (it’s not as easy as it sounds), they’ll even pay you for your time and troubles. You get farm-fresh eggs, a new friend and to reduce your imprint on the earth and a check. I’m moving tomorrow.
This program comes out of the Austin Resource Recovery, an organization that’s dedicated to keeping the city as eco-friendly as it is weird. Austin Resource Recovery developed the Home Composting Rebate Program in an effort to produce less waste as a city.
Save On Utilities, Too
Residents can attend an upcoming “chicken keeping class,” buy a coop from any retailer they wish, submit a rebate application online and then score a nice $75 check from the city. On top of that, by giving your chickens food scraps, Austinites can downsize their at-home trash bins. Because a larger waste bin costs more money in utilities, keeping a chicken coop can help you save money every month if you can switch out to a smaller trash cart size.
It looks like Austin is the only city offering this awesome program at the moment, but there’s always hope it will catch on in other parts of the country.
Austin as a city is working to working to reach zero waste by 2040. This endeavor means reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent, which is a tough feat. But if there’s a better way to save the planet than owning chickens, I’m not sure what it is. Penny, I’m coming for you!