The number of communities allowing backyard hens keeps growing, but not every community welcomes the egg-laying critters. One woman who loves her hens lives in two communities. She’s the aunt of one of my Care2 Causes colleagues. Here is her story:
There’s a city ordinance where she lives that you can’t keep chickens on your property, but her property backs up to the next town (where you CAN have chickens), so she keeps them just over her property line. Her neighbor called the cops about it once, and she took them back in her yard so they could clearly see that the chickens were not, in fact, in her town.
Urban Hens and Food Security
All around North America municipalities are struggling with the issue of backyard chickens. Jaelithe Judy wrote two years ago:
And as the urban chicken trend gains ground, city officials are finding it harder and harder to say no to backyard hens. Locavores who want to lower their eggs’ carbon footprint, environmentalists who want to reconnect with the land, libertarians who want to live self-sufficiently, animal lovers who oppose factory farming and foodies who just prefer the taste of fresh, homegrown eggs have all joined the ranks of the urban chicken movement. Even Martha Stewart is a proud suburban chicken owner.
Clearly, keeping chickens in residential yards has gone mainstream. But urban chickens aren’t just the latest fashionable pet trend — according to many advocates of urban farming, the growing popularity of backyard flocks could make real, positive impact on the sustainability and resilience of our food system.
Of course, food security and the pleasures of just-laid eggs are only part of what municipalities and neighborhoods are taking into account as they debate the issues. They are also discussing animal welfare, predators, noise and sanitation.
Next: Animal Welfare
All photos via Flickr Creative Commons: Chicken coop photo from firstname.lastname@example.org; coyote photo from daveynin; silkie hen photo from Danny Doxtator; white chickens photo from www.thegoodlifefrance.com
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