Backyard chickens on the rise


From The LA Times

June 16, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Urban poultry farmers get a taste of rural life — and a constant supply of eggs — with their own coops. But not every city will run with the idea.Reporting from Madison, Wis. — Jen Lynch and her family live in the heart of the city but roll out of bed to the sound of clucking chickens.

Their day starts with cleaning coops, scooping out feed and hunting for eggs for morning omelets. Eight families in a three-block radius and an estimated 150 families citywide do the same.

“It’s our slice of rural life, minus the barns,” said Jen Lynch, 35, as Flicka the chicken pecked at her backyard lawn.

As the recession drags on, city dwellers and suburbanites alike are transforming their backyards into poultry farms. Victory gardens, proponents say, are not enough. Chickens are the next step.

“People are turning to things that remind them of simpler times,” said Ron Kean, a poultry specialist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “If you’re smart, you can save money doing this.”

Growing interest in backyard chickens has fans rallying for change in dozens of cities, although the movement leaves some people squawking.

“I moved to the city for a reason,” said Evan Feinberg, 41, a technology consultant in Madison who said he grew up on a Midwest farm. “I never wanted to see another chicken, unless it’s wrapped in plastic.”

Still, the idea of urban chickens is picking up steam. In Traverse City, Mich., officials are weighing the issue. In Iowa City, Iowa, chicken lovers have collected 600 signatures urging local officials to permit backyard chickens.

Poultry fans in Madison persuaded the city’s common council to reverse a ban on backyard hens about five years ago. The ordinance — similar to regulations in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore — allows up to four chickens per property. The animals are to be raised for eggs, and must be housed in a coop that is far separated from neighboring homes. (Roosters are typically banned in cities because of crowing.)…

Go to full article: Backyard chickens on the rise – Los Angeles Times
Thanks to Linda Gray
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