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There will, of course, be some 9-1-1 worthy mistakes in the beginning, such of those who think keeping a harem of hens is no more difficult than ranching gold fish.
May 30, 2011 8:02 AM   Subscribe

"If a hen that appreciates Wagner and Rachmaninov can make me breakfast, she sounds like a pretty good companion to have around" - Toronto Standard reports on the pros and cons of a recent vote to determine if hens can be kept as pets.
posted by ameliaaah (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
We just went through this in Albany. Common Council votes Yes, Mayor Jennings vetos.
posted by mikelieman at 8:03 AM on May 30, 2011


A few of my friends keep chickens here in NYC, mainly in semi-suburban places like Queens or parts of Brooklyn where you can have a backyard. Most flocks are 2-4 chickens. You don't get a ton of eggs, but they are quite lovely to have around and can be quite interesting as pets. It is true that they are like "little dinosaurs" though. A common problem is henyard bullying- one hen will mercilessly bully another submissive hen. You'll sometimes see hens wearing protective scarves or collars because of that.

Another issue is if you order chicks you might end up with a rooster and a lot of the chick companies are kind of sketchy too (ever seen the videos of them grinding up the males while alive because they are so salable?). Not many people breed their own chickens these days, so it's hard to find an alternative and you can't DIY in the city because roosters aren't allowed, though some areas have "service days" http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2011-04-27-chicken-regulations_n.htm
posted by melissam at 8:08 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I live in a rural town in Texas and am not allowed to keep chickens. There's some kind of regulation about how your chickens have to be 500 feet from the property line in all directions, so essentially unless you are actually a farmer with multiple acres of land, no chickens for you. It's kind of frustrating.
posted by titus n. owl at 8:53 AM on May 30, 2011


Not many people breed their own chickens these days

So true.
posted by longsleeves at 8:55 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Defy the logic of our Chicken Laws.

Does anyone have experiences where chickens are that much worse to live near than any other kind of animal? I'd much prefer a law requiring me to give permission before my neighbor gets a chihuahua, and perhaps a special annual fee for dressing it up in pink.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:10 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chicken make lousy house pet. ???
No.
posted by Seamus at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2011


Yet, titus, in Austin you can.

something something hippies!
posted by Seamus at 10:45 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And now I must rethink my plans for my Arizona goldfish ranch. damn.
posted by Seamus at 10:50 AM on May 30, 2011


We found a layer of old newspaper from 1913 under the linoleum of out Toronto house and it has a whole advice column devoted to urban chicken rearing practices.

It also had trial coverage of a teenage Jewish girl from Montreal, arrested in Toronto for dressing as a boy. Ahh, Toronto the good.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:19 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


yeah, Seamus, I've come to accept the fact that literally everything is way less lame in Austin than it is here. Wish I wasn't tied here by newspaper jobs
posted by titus n. owl at 12:44 PM on May 30, 2011


titus n. owl: I live in a rural town in Texas and am not allowed to keep chickens. There's some kind of regulation about how your chickens have to be 500 feet from the property line in all directions...

Here in Seattle, anyone can keep 8 chickens (more with a large property, no roosters) as long as they're at least 10 feet from other people's homes. That's along with a miniature potbelly pig or three dehorned miniature goats, plus 4 beehives (25 foot setback for hives).

Our neighbors keep chickens in their front yard, and it's never caused any problems for us. You occasionally hear some clucking when walking up the front steps, but that's about it.
posted by JiBB at 12:57 PM on May 30, 2011


Chickens as pets? Not as housepets.

During a bitterly cold night here in Massachusetts last winter, I brought three hens inside the house to spend the night in a basement toilet closet well lined with newspaper.

They will never spend another night in the house anywhere, no matter how cold it gets--they spewed crap not only onto the floor, but somehow up and down the walls.

I will vouch for them as being just like little velociraptors. Dangle out an ear of corn and they sprint at you. At that point, I like to imagine they are eight feet tall; it's terrifying.
posted by Camofrog at 6:29 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another chicken story, yay! I'm moving to Houston next month and my house comes with four chickens that I have already named based on their pictures. I can't wait. I've been reading the BackyardChickens site to learn how to care for them.

Thanks camofrog for the info on not letting them in the house, ever. ;-) From everything I've read, chickens and roosters can be pretty vicious. Of course, Winifred, Mathilda, Petunia and Abigail are going to be great egg-laying hens who will adore me. Still, I'm a little bit afraid. And I'm glad there's no rooster.
posted by shoesietart at 9:24 PM on May 30, 2011


I've tried keeping chickens: I dealt with the tomcats and the monitor lizards picking off chicks, but when a python killed my hen, I knew I was beat.
posted by BinGregory at 9:01 AM on May 31, 2011


Our next-door neighbors have chickens. They live in an enclosed area in the far back corner of the yard, but go out into the larger yard if people are around. (A vast improvement over the previous status of that corner; it used to be an enormous blackberry bramble.) They briefly had a rooster, which was strikingly annoying, but were able to get him a good home out in the country.

This weekend I had a nice chat about them with the neighbor, which also included watching her 4-year-old boy wander about the yard with Gladys in his arms. Apparently they lost two chickens to a raccoon not too long ago when the neighbor forgot to shut the enclosure gate. :( But they got replacements, including Gladys, who are doing well.

I think we might get some too; the neighbor liked the idea of adjoining enclosures, and she said that cats don't seem to have any problems with chickens and vice versa. (That would be specifically our cats, too, since they often wander into the neighbor's yard.) And I LOVE eggs.
posted by epersonae at 1:08 PM on May 31, 2011


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