I want chickens. Bad. I hear they make great entertainment–and need I even mention. . . Fresh eggs!
I would love to be able to walk into my backyard and pick up a freshly-laid egg. And clean it off, of course, because apparently they don’t come out looking like they do in the grocery store. I don’t want to get too graphic, but if you are unschooled in chicken anatomy (like I was), let me share what I learned: the great manure chickens produce doesn’t have a separate exit ramp. . .
A year ago backyard chickens weren’t a possibility for us since we live in a small city. But the urban farm movement is surging and seven hundred city residents signed a petition for bees and chickens in the city. The council people had to sit up and take note of that! Fast forward through paperwork, research, and bureaucracy stuff blah blah blah and the ordinance was up before council for a vote.
A couple of weeks before the meeting the city chickens and bees Facebook group asked people to email their representative to express support. I wasn’t sure who my representative was so I emailed. . . all of them. Can you tell how political I am? To their credit, they all emailed back asserting their support. The only details left to iron out were setback limits. This was an important factor since city lots tend to be small and deciding on something too high would make owning birds and bees an impossibility for most residents. After I emailed them all once, I wrote again to specify what setback number I thought was reasonable. But I gave myself away by telling them what street I lived on and they stopped emailing back since all but one weren’t responsible for fielding my fiery emails.
It felt so good to write to them. I gained a sense of pride in being passionate about an issue and doing something about it. I began to think, I could get into this local politics thing. I carried this buoyed feeling with me into the council chambers as I sat reverently on the hard wooden bench, hoping my mere presence showcased my zeal for the issue at hand.
But chickens and bees weren’t the first thing on the agenda that night. First the council had to listen to a traffic expert (who knew those even existed? He got my vote for having one of the most boring jobs on earth). He gave his findings on the traffic patterns of a particular street and what would happen if they added a turning lane here or there. The discussion droned on and on. I think my eyes started to water a little from boredom and probably sympathy for the guy’s wife for when she had to hear about his day at work. And then I knew–local politics weren’t for me. But I gave those six council people and the Mayor credit. They sat there and listened and even looked mildly interested. Not one of them (that I could see) pulled out a contraband book from their purse (or murse) and started reading it like I did, waiting for a more interesting topic to come up. (I recommend Major Pettigrew’s Last stand. It really kept me entertained).
Then I knew it was only the chickens and the bees that I cared about.
Long story short and a couple of weeks later, they passed the ordinance 6-0 so I’m on my way to owning backyard fowl.
It’s too be determined how my rear neighbor (we’ll call her Wilma) will feel about them, if she will dislike them as much as she does Turtle and Pickle, our two bark-enthused pugs. I’ll keep you updated on my chicken endeavors (designing a coop, etc) as well as the Wilma drama sure to ensue.