Chicago May Ban Chickens as Feathered Pets' Popularity Grows

US - The same city that put out the welcome mat for bees and fought to protect goose livers is poised to send a different message to residents: We don't want your clucking chickens.
calendar icon 12 December 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Losing creature comforts

The City Council will vote Wednesday on a proposal to ban chickens, a former barnyard denizen that is pecking its way into cities across the country as part of a growing organic food trend among young professionals and other urban dwellers.

Chicken lovers say the birds make great pets, don't take up much backyard space and provide tasty, nutritious eggs.

Other cities, from New York to Seattle, are embracing the trend.

Some, including Madison, Wis., and Kent, Wash., have passed ordinances allowing people to keep chickens. In Ann Arbor, Mich., a councilman says he plans to introduce a resolution to allow hens to be kept for eggs, and the Board of Zoning Appeals in the upscale Indianapolis suburb of Carmel recently approved an exception to city rules to allow a family to keep three hens in their backyard.

But the Chicago alderman who proposed the ban says all this crowing about chickens ignores the fact that there's another population that likes it when these birds move into the neighborhood: rodents.

"This past summer I started hearing that residents were letting chickens out of their yard and they were leaving poop and mice were feeding off of it," said Alderman Lona Lane. "Then we started getting rodent-control problems and, sure enough, it was the chickens."

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