What lies stealthily behind those innocent looking suburb and urban fences across the United States? Henhouses! With CHICKENS! It’s an illicit movement rapidly spreading across the country, ruffling the feathers of city ordinance boards.
The Worldwatch Institute reports that a growing number of US city-dwellers are raising their own chickens, often in defiance of local ordinances.
Citing unsanctioned henhouses in Denver, Boston, and other cities, Worldwatch’s Ben Block notes that an “underground ‘urban chicken’ movement has swept across the United States in recent years,” flouting authorities’ concerns about noise, odors, and public health.
But in some cities, such as Ann Arbor, Mich., Ft. Collins, Colo., South Portland, Maine, and Madison, Wisc., owners of these clandestine coops have successfully changed the laws to allow them to keep a limited number of hens. (Roosters, whose characteristic crowing can disturb neighbors, are usually more restricted, but they’re not needed for hens to lay unfertilized eggs.)
I have been trying to convince my husband that we need chickens. After all the exposure of the corrupt and dirty food factory industries and CAFOs (such as salmonella poisoning, Mad Cow disease, melamine in dairy, etc), I am ready to start raising my own poultry and limit our consumption of beef and pork. Mr. M says he doesn’t think our area is zoned for poultry. However, one neighbor of ours has a few horses, and another neighbor runs a small wildlife refuge with peacocks, geese, and a rooster.
Which reminds me: Did you know that roosters do not only crow at sunrise? Nay! I can tell you from experience that roosters crow ALL day and ALL night, and very loudly, too! But I defend the right of my neighbor to keep her chickens, I do!
Many large US cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Seattle apparently never thought to ban the domesticated fowl within city limits. These cities have served as an incubator of sorts for the emerging movement, in which urban henkeepers post online tips on building coops, caring for the birds, and fending off raccoons and other predators.
Zoning ordinances are for the people, not the people for zoning ordinances. If the residents want to change the city’s pecking orders, they should be allowed to do so.
I also tend to believe that the real ‘fowl’ play is coming from the state and local governments, who are not too pleased that people are strating to take their own food supply into their own hands. The food industry is BIG business.
So UP WITH CHICKENS! Chicken-keepers, unite! A chicken in every pot! For those who think we’re going back to the “trust us, the food supply is perfectly safe” schpiel, you’re cuckoo!