just finished up reading this article from the wall street journal about chicken-resistant neighbors in salem, oregon. there's a fight going on there to re-legalize backyard chicken farming, which became illegal in the 1970's. similar fights are taking place throughout the country as urban farming gains momentum--i read awhile back about a young girl who went to court stating that her chickens were pets and therefore as legal as owning a dog, cat or rabbit. i do believe she won her case and was allowed to keep 3 birds.
well, i can commiserate with the folks who are being told that they have to get rid of their hens. technically, we aren't allowed to keep chickens either--and have been told as such by some government-type guy who came by checking for a building permit when our backyard studios were under construction. he said we'd face fines if we didn't get rid of them. thankfully he hasn't been back to check up. as far as i know, our neighbors have never complained about our ownership of hens--we try our very best to keep them quiet in the morning, but it's not always as simple as letting them out of their coop when the sun comes up. sometimes they get quite talkative when laying an egg. can't say i blame them, though!
articles like this one blow my mind. the quotes from the "naysayers" are out of this world as far as ignorance is concerned, at least in my mind:
"Eggs aren't even that expensive anyway. What's next? Goats? Llamas?" Her advice to hen-loving neighbors: "Get a farm."
i suppose that there are folks who are so far removed from the reality of our food sources that they can't consider why someone would go through the trouble of raising chickens when eggs are readily available in any supermarket. well, in my experience, it's certainly not to save on expense. though our coop was made from scrap lumber, we do have to buy chicken feed, straw, and thank our chicken-sitting neighbor with gifts of beer and blockbuster gift cards whenever we leave town. the reason we raise chickens is because it's an interesting (and sometimes rewarding) relationship--to provide care for an animal who gives something in return. it's nice to know that most of the time (and especially in the beginning when the chickens were young) we are obtaining our eggs from animals who we can be 100% sure are not being treated with any kind of cruelty whatsoever. but then, i am an animal lover and understand that others are not. or maybe some people are still in the dark about the super-shady practices of the egg industry--debeaking, forced molting, overcrowding, culling of male chicks and female hens over the age of 18 months (when first decline in egg-production occurs). sad stuff.