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Urban Chicks: Raising Chickens in the City

5/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: chickens, raising chickens, backyard chickens, livestock

Urban dwellers can’t seem to get enough of the simple life. 

Once thought the domain of farm folk, raising chickens is becoming more popular in urban and suburban settings. Chickens keep bugs away, provide rich compost—and sometimes get the neighbors talking. 

Raising chickens in the city is becoming more popular, but some residents oppose it. Photo by Kusine/Courtesy Flickr  

Neighbors who aren’t as enthusiastic about urban poultry are piping up. Across America, city and animal shelter officials are reviewing proposals that would restrict people from raising chickens and other farm animals in urban environments.

Urban farming enthusiasts, such as Jules Dervaes of Pasadena, California, are combating these proposals by raising awareness in town hall meetings about city chicken farming. Dervaes, whose garden was named Natural Home’s Garden of the Decade, lives with his three children in an urban neighborhood and grows a thriving organic garden that sustains the family. They sell fresh produce and chicken eggs to local restaurants while maintaining an attractive home and garden. 

Dervaes’ dedication to being part of a sustainable local economy motivated him to take interest in a neighboring city. San Clemente, about 70 miles south of Pasadena, currently has a zoning ordinance in place that restricts residents from raising chickens as pets; residents can have chickens as long as their home sits at least 100 feet from another house or lot. Residents who live on smaller lots cannot obtain permits.  

Although the proposal to ban all farm animals, such as chickens, cows and goats, is still on hold, Rick Gilliland, general manager of the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter, believes the proposal will be reversed and current zoning ordinance will stand. Gilliland doesn’t see a total ban on chickens in the future. 

Do you live in an area that bans or allows chickens? Leave a comment and discuss your experiences.

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