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:
- Farm fresh eggs
- Insect control
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.
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.