No homestead is complete without a handful of chickens running around. Not only do they give you fresh eggs almost daily (as if that wouldn't be enough on its own) but they are also great garden helpers, eating pests, scratching up garden beds, and providing fertilizer. Though sometimes chickens get a little overzealous in their weeding task and take out carefully planted seedlings. Oh well, their hearts are in the right place.
But what do you do when your "homestead' is smack dab in the middle of town? As much as I would love a sprawling farm with acres upon acres of lush countryside, that is not my reality right now. My little hippie homestead is a 1/3-acre city lot. This little parcel may not be fit for my other livestock, but it is more than enough room to comfortably raise a few hens. Luckily last fall my city passed an ordinance allowing residents to keep up to four hens in town. While there are a lot of hoops to jump through and the permitting is quite expensive, I am not going to complain, I'm going to get chickens! These little peeps arrived today. I actually came home with six even though I'm only allowed to have four, so a couple will have to go to my mom's farm and live the country life. Until then I'll have fun watching these little fuzz balls grow up.
While I had a very small part of getting the ordinance passed, there was a group of dedicated residents that worked for years to make this a reality. It does seem like the tides are starting to turn in the favor of allowing hens in town. More and more cities are taking up and at least discussing the idea of allowing small backyard flocks. As the local food movement and the desire to become more sustainable grows, I believe that many more cities and towns will adopt these ordinances. If your city doesn't currently allow for backyard chickens feel free to contact me, I would be happy to discuss what my city adopted and how we were able to convince the city council that this was a great idea for our town.
Peace, love, & chickens!