There is a trend in some cities of some residents seeking relief from old ordinances and chicken laws disallowing city livestock, specifically chickens, ducks, goats and the like. Typically, the ordinances ban outright certain livestock. Others may specify a certain size lot which precludes most city residents.

chicken 244x300 Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens

The proponents suggest there are many good points to consider when contemplating whether to allow backyard chickens.  Some say it is a good educational tool for children to learn the ins and outs of keeping chickens.  There are responsibilities to be learned in caring for chickens.  Children benefit from seeing where some of their food comes from. And, having city chickens is considered a sustainable and renewable food source.

Others suggest it brings the community together, as it might give people something common to talk about with each other. Then there is the idea that community-sharing programs might work in order to include residents in apartments or other places that would not allow animals. Details could be worked out to take care of animals kept in a shared space.

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Some of the detractors of backyard chickens feel as soon as their neighbor begins to build a chicken coop in the backyard , there will be noise problems. That argument is countered by those who have little tolerance for barking dogs -which there is no shortage of.  One concern that seems to hold water is the considerable likelihood of neglect and abandonment after the novelty of filling the egg basket wears off.   After you build a chicken coop and populate it, there is much work to be done in caring for chickens.   Straw or some other medium like mulch is added to the hen house. It needs to be replaced at regular intervals as the chicken poop accumulates.

So then, what to do with that stuff?  Chicken manure, as a Backyard Idea, is a good fertilizer but must be composted before it can be used, If used straight it’ll burn and kill the garden. Where the pile will be and who will take care of all the chicken compost is a big question.

The chicken poop must be removed and disposed of. The mulch that it’s mixed with makes a good chicken compost for the garden but must be the poop must be composted before use as a fertilizer – or removed.  Also, there are maintenance issues, costs and issues of city livestock code compliance.

The strongest argument against urban livestock, albeit not the most rational, perhaps, envisions the neighborhood Homes and Gardens being overrun with chickens and huge piles of chicken manure, smart chicken coop designs in various states of disrepair, and a disgustingly dense foggy pall hanging over the neighborhood on windless hazy, hot humid days.  The chicken smell, the chicken noise , and the rooster noise seem to be the most common objections.  And, this -once a laying hen stops laying, who’s going to bring the cute little bugger to the butcher block?

Learn more about the discussion going on in Redmond, Washington about Backyard Chickens.

Greatest Fears are Realized for proponents of  Urban Fowl as City Chickens Sicken Kids in Several States.

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