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Suburban Dad: Chickens Are Not Unpheasant

It could be my loaded imagination as a chicken owner, but it seems everyone is out to get us. First, there was the headline on this website that instantly had me putting up a squawk:

“New Rochelle Council Says No to Chicken Amendment.”

Can you believe that?

In a fiercely contested 4-3 vote, the New Rochelle city council outlawed chickens on residential properties. Bird brains. A vote in Ossining is due soon, but I can’t scratch out any hope. After all, the New Rochelle amendment was proposed when a pair of adorable sisters, Emma and Sophia Peister, (15 and 12, respectively), wrote an adorable letter to New Rochelle’s less than adorable mayor, Noam Bramson. But after playing chicken with the legislation, one bad egg on the city council voted it down.

When you are hardboiled enough in New Rochelle to dash the hopes of a pair of little girls who always dreamed of owning three chickens, I don’t see how we’ll be shaking tail feathers in Ossining anytime soon.

Alas, from sidewalk easements to chicken coops, local regulators tend to rule the roost. But why are they so chicken hearted about allowing coops on suburban land?

The locavore movement is theoretical, faddish nonsense…unless you are really waking up with the chickens every day (only to let them out of their coop and into their pen -- even suburbs that allow hens ban roosters, for obvious reasons).

Moreover, free-range eggs cost a lot. And when something isn’t chicken feed, it’s nice to be able to do it yourself. Even if you can’t feather your nest by raising a small flock, at least you get the experience of the farm life.

I’ve written about the good, bad and ugly of my chicken experience in this space:

Suburban Dad: Dreaming of Chickens

Suburban Dad: A Plague of Chickens is his Name

Suburban Dad: There's no Such Thing as Free Eggs

Suburban Dad: The Real Cost of Backyard Chickens

But it’s not just me. Chickens were referred to in The New Yorker as the new “it” bird and Alice Walker just came out with a book of essays on backyard chickens called “Chicken Chronicles.”

Everyone wants chickens. And if local officials keep throwing egg on our plans, I might run for office on a platform to put a chicken in every suburban plot.

That’s why I wrote this. If I’ve learned anything from my beloved backyard chickens, it’s that when something in life bothers you, put up a squawk.

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