As a kid we had chickens, I helped my Dad feed them, broke the ice on their water in the Winter and I helped to eat their eggs for breakfast. All and all I never thought much about having chickens. As the years grew on our chickens grew old and eventually my Dad decided to cut back on his animal husbandry, and since their last two cats have passed on, my parents now own ZERO animals (for the first time in over 30 years).
But I digress. I love chickens. Or more specifically I love the yellow, golden, creamy yolks that are found inside eggs harvested fresh from hand raised chickens. So does my 16 month old son. When I scramble up a fresh egg from the chickens, my son gobbles up every last bite. When, on ocassion our girls have not held up their end of the deal and we have had to buy some eggs (oh, the shame) when I have served him up a pale grocery store egg — even a cage free omega filled Nest Fresh egg — he gets a little peckish. He eats a few bites and leaves the rest.
The average omnivore might think that I am imagining things, but I happen to be a “taste” connoisseur. I can copy recipes pretty good simply by tasting them (no recipe in hand). When I taste wine (or chocolate or coffee) I can honestly taste the spice, the bloom, the black cherry, the grapefruit. I KNEW when our local vineyards sold out and changed the grapes going into their Red Truck table wine, but it wasn’t until over a year later that I finally got confirmation. In other words, I am absolutely certain, that fresh farm eggs TASTE BETTER than factory farmed eggs, even Certified Humane, but still factory farmed eggs.
However, fresh farm (urban or country) eggs not only taste better, they are better for you. In fact any animal product that comes from an animal that eats a natural diet, getting in some greens (usually grass), some bugs or other foods from nature, has a different balance of fats and proteins than the same animal products factory farmed cousins. Wild venison, grass fed beef, and eggs from the little farm down the road are characterized by an increase in Omega 3 fats, a decrease in Saturated fats, and an increase in lean protein. This is because similar to the obese American, modern livestock were not meant to live on corn and soy. Corn and soy may fill you up and out, but growth in itself is not always good. Especially growth that involves excess fat.
But again, I digress, so back to chickens. I love farm chickens (urban or country) for their quirky personality, the beauty of their plumage and their ability to bond with small children. In fact, 4-H recommends that kids who want to get involved in livestock, but who have little experience raise poultry. We are what we eat (literally) and yet our culture is frighteningly disconnected from our food. Many today can’t cook from scratch or think that cooking from scratch means opening a boxed mix and adding eggs and oil. Others don’t even bother to use their kitchen — allowing strangers to feed them 3 square (or not so square) meals per day.
And thus, perhaps I should not be in total shock that some US cities are still coming upon strong resistance when it comes to approving an ordinance to allow urban chickens. And yet, surrounding cities, which are arguably MORE urban already allow urban chickens. As does the great city of New York (seriously), as well as, other hip towns like Portland and Seattle.
For some reason, a good number of probably nice folks in these chicken-free zones think that the approval of the urban hen will send their city to the dogs. Others are afraid that chickens will attract predators like fox and coyotes, which already happen to live in good numbers in cities. Others think chickens smell (they don’t if you clean them out regularly) or that they are noisy (roosters are, but not particularly hens). What’s more they are concerned about the mess….
Cooped chickens don’t poop in their neighbors yard and they don’t bark at raccoons after midnight; however, they do provide those yummy, golden yolks that my family genuinely appreciates. Now given all this, I am not sure that many will want to start their own little brood of laying hens, but I do think that they should have the legal right to do so. ~~ A. Greenme