Backyard Chicken Myths, Part 2

by Andy Schneider (the Chicken Whisperer)

If you missed part 1 of this article, you can read it here.

Many people who oppose the keeping of backyard chickens often sound off during meetings about decreased property values if the city allows the keeping of backyard chickens. All I can say is show me the proof. No one has ever shown up at a backyard chicken meeting that I have ever attended with any valid proof that someone got $10,000 less for their home because one of their neighbors kept backyard chickens, or the town they lived in allowed backyard chickens. Show me the proof!

I often hear city officials ask the question, “How will we enforce the keeping of backyard chickens?” If you take a good look at the laws and ordinances that are already in place, I’m willing to bet there are more than enough laws and ordinances on the books right now to enforce any problems that would ever come about by an irresponsible backyard chicken keeper. For example, what if a rooster is crowing at 4:00am? What if a dog was barking at 4:00am or a neighbor was playing loud music at 4:00am? What if a chicken gets loose in the neighborhood? What if a dog gets loose in the neighborhood? You would not have to worry about the chicken mauling a little girl to death like you would with a vicious dog! What if the chicken run starts to smell? What if a dog pen starts to smell? What if a compost bin starts to smell? What if a neighbor’s garbage starts to smell? You would address the chicken complaint just like any other complaint.

Some towns are requiring that residents get permission from their neighbors in order to keep backyard chickens. I wonder if they make their residents get permission from their neighbors in order to have children, dogs, cats, and motorcycles, all of which can be louder and more destructive than a few backyard hens. Do I dare call this discrimination against chicken lovers?

There are many advantages of keeping backyard chickens and they include but are not limited too:

  1. Farm fresh eggs
  2. Insect control
  3. Composting
  4. Fertilizer
  5. Pets
  6. Education

In fact, chickens are environmentally friendly. They reduce the amount of green house gases depleting the ozone by reducing your food waste headed to the landfill. They replenish nutrients to our nutrient depleted soils. They reduce your need for chemical lawn fertilizers or pest controls and they create a local food source for families. In Pat Foreman’s book, City Chicks, she explains how towns can actually save taxpayer dollars by allowing their residents to keep a few laying hens in the backyard.

To put backyard chickens into perspective I often tell people the following. On any given day I have more dog poop in my front yard from other neighbor’s dogs then they have chicken poop in their front yard from my chickens. I have more cat prints on my car from other neighbor’s cats then they have chicken prints on their car from my chickens. And I’m awakened at 2:00am more from other neighbor’s dogs barking then they have ever been awakened at 2:00am from my sleeping hens.

Thank you,

Chicken Whisperer

Andy Schneider, better known as the Chicken Whisperer, is the host of the Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer radio show, contributor for Mother Earth News Magazine, Grit Magazine, Farmers Almanac, and national spokesperson for the USDA-APHIS Bio-Security for Birds Program.

Andy Schneider is a Guest Author; ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and are not those of McMurray Hatchery. If you would like to express a different point of view or add additional information please post a comment.


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13 Responses to Backyard Chicken Myths, Part 2

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Isn’t that the truth! People seem to look down their long dignified noses at folks that own poultry and really walk in ignorance when it comes to care and raising of these wonderful creatures. I appreciate the stimulating comments, Mr. Chicken Whisperer. Thank you.

  2. Natalie Rowe says:

    It should be printed off and given to every local lawmaker in Canada, too. People need to learn the facts about keeping chickens, not just succumb to hysteria! Excellent debunking of the myths, thanks.

  3. Nellie Ravago says:

    I surely agree with all the things you said regarding backyard chickens. My husband and I started few chicks in the backyard almost six years ago. Now we have more than 60 chickens and are enjoying the fresh brown eggs that we gather everyday. If only some people will make time to start this venture, aside from saving money to buy eggs from the store, you’ll know for a fact that yours is not contaminated with salmonella. You can share some eggs to your family and friends.

  4. Glenda Canada says:

    Great article! I am so glad I live on thirty acres and I can do what I want on it. I get along great with my neighbors. They have chickens, cattle, goats dogs, cats, and children, but then so do I. ~Glenda

  5. Sherry says:

    Several people in my neighborhood keep chickens even though a covenant dating from 1952 forbids it. Nobody wants to rock the boat by getting the rules changed. These blogs will come in useful if we ever need to argue our case, though!

    Another note: The year-round population of crows and Steller’s jays is steadily increasing here in the west. The jays especially are much, much louder even than roosters.

  6. Dane says:

    I totally agree except when it’s a large cockfighting operation with a hundred or more crowing gamecocks. That is the exception. Otherwise, I agree 100%.

  7. PatriciaaGerard says:

    New at raising chickens, I’ve learned a lot.
    (1) Chickens require a lot of work !
    (2) Keeping the rooster under lock in a darkened hen house will make him sleep late! Hence, my neighbors get to sleep late too!
    (3) Some chickens do make good pets!

  8. Chicken Farmer says:

    Amen………………

  9. Don Higgens says:

    I have raised chickens, and I have sat out in the yard and watched them for hours on end, just to be amazed at what they do. They really eat those bugs. One will pick up a grasshopper, and others will chase, trying to take it away. It’s funny to see ‘em run. And to hear the rooster crow in the morn’ takes me back to the good ole days. And those eggs are so much better for ya! Murray McMurray I’m calling ya. I need another 100 chicks.

  10. Jeannie Max says:

    Thank you for being the voice of reason.

    We’re lucky our suburban city north of Minneapolis had an ordinance in place. Our neighbors and their children think the chickens are great! I’ve also promised them a few eggs when the girls start laying next month. Perhaps a few fresh organic eggs (particularly with the salmonella outbreak in factory farms) and your article would be a good place to start a chicken conversation at the next city council meeting in your area.

  11. Bill says:

    A well thought out response to issues that are often raised. Keep up the good work.

  12. John Campanelli says:

    This should be printed out and given to every local lawmaker in America. The fears and ignorance about backyard chickens continues to amaze me.

    Thank you, Chicken Whisperer, for becoming the public face in every backyard chicken farmer’s quest to educate our neighbors.

  13. mona smith says:

    I really liked all those comments comparing chickens to dogs. I live out in the country and cannot see any neighbors, but I can hear their dogs bark, and I cannot hear their roosters, and they do have them. You made real good points.

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