I've wanted to try keeping chickens for about ten years, but for a long time it just wasn't feasible. It might be now, but I need to know a lot more about the time/money/space involved. I think I'd like three or four chickens to start with.
Background: We live in a mid-sized mid-western city (zone 5). I'm not sure how cold hardy I would need the birds to be or what kind of shelter they would need over the winter.
Our house is set on the rear of two city lots, so we have a pretty open area. I have a lot of lawn-obsessed, retired neighbors so my shelter has to either not stand out or look decorative.
I can't afford to fence my whole yard, so I'm looking for something portable like a smallish chicken tractor.
My mom works at the local animal shelter and animal control told her it was okay to have a few chickens in town, so legally, I should be okay.
I need the birds to be on the quiet side, be docile, and lay eggs.
How much can I expect feed, etc to cost?