Carrie Sorrell

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Urban chicken farming, defined as the practice of keeping a small flock of chickens in an urban or suburban setting for the purpose of this study, has increased in popularity in recent years. The purpose of this study is to examine how well-equipped urban chicken farmers are to care for their chickens, where they get information from, and how they judge that information to be credible. Specifically, the research looks at two diseases, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Virulent Newcastle disease, and whether these urban farmers know about the diseases and can deal with them appropriately based on the information they have gathered during their time farming. Semi-structured interviews that lasted approximately 20 – 30 minutes were conducted from a convenience sample of famers gathered from online posts. The results of the research seem to be that urban chicken farmers primarily use their chickens for eggs and teaching children about “real food.” The chickens are typically seen more as pets than livestock animals, with only a small portion of people understanding the effects of HPAI and Virulent Newcastle disease. As for information gathering, social media is a key source for these urban chicken farmers, though they tend to stay skeptical of the information found on social media sites. Local vets and extension offices are a trusted source of information. Overall, urban chicken farming is growing in popularity, however, to help urban chicken farmers to understand fully the bio-security needs of chickens and overall healthcare, social media should be a primary source where the USDA shares content in relation to this topic.