Normal, Illinois is considering allowing residents to raise and house chickens within the city limits. The city council is still discussing the regulations that would accompany allowing these "urban chickens" in neighborhoods, but I can't help but laugh. Is it just me, or can you picture these little gals (hens only) with their baggy jeans, sideways caps, and large, gold chains? The picture I have of "urbanized" livestock, chickens in particular, is laughable.
I realize that this is not the case, and these hens will not be sporting urban wear, but regardless of how these chickens look, the premise of this still makes me laugh. It is hot right now to be self-sustaining...whatever that really means... to be in charge of your own food source, raise your own stuff, be able to live off of your land. I get that. We do that. However, we do that on nearly 2500 acres of crop land and hundreds of acres of pasture, and we're still under fire by animal activists. How is putting little urbanized hens in coops in your backyard better than allowing our cattle to graze in a fenced pasture? How does some one who spends all day in an office or at school or some other workplace know the first thing about keeping these urban chickens healthy, happy, and productive?
I'm not saying that you shouldn't garden, keep a few animals, or try to be your own food source. That is absolutely not my argument. My argument is that if we're going to be okay with urban chickens, get off the back of the American livestock farmer a little bit. I would like to think that my husband who not only grew up on a livestock farm, but holds a master's degree in agriculture in college knows a little bit more than some one who just wants to fiddle around with eggs. I'm all for others trying to understand agriculture and try to live it, but this whole thing seems like a big double standard to me. I would love to hear Michael Pollen's opinion on this. How could a little coop be okay with him?
Regardless, I will continue to follow this story, and will continue to chuckle every time I hear the phrase, "urban chickens," picturing the little gals wearing large clocks on chains and listening to loud music. The noise ordinances should not be limited to just clucking in this city. The city council should be careful with the verbage on that one!