When we think of animals owned by suburban families, we often think of cats and dogs. But chickens? Not usually.
Chickens usually evoke one to think of a farm-type setting, but this is no longer accurate. More recently, people have been reconsidering whether chickens may belong in their backyard. In the age where everyone is constantly seeking fresher and more organic foods, what could you ensure to be more fresh and organic than eggs you raise yourself?
Obviously there are downsides to this idea. Chickens produce a lot of waste, and without a large farm space, it is harder to ensure that the coup can remain clean. Someone who wants to own chickens must be prepared to clean up after them regularly and carefully. Another downside could be that there are many wild animals, such as the coyotes that come from the Metro Parks, that like to eat chickens. Because chickens do not have many natural protective features, these predators can only be stopped by building very protective fences around your chicken’s enclosure.
It seems that benefits outweigh doubts in this case. Chickens will eat kitchen scraps that you do not want, which eliminates waste. And, as previously stated, the fresh eggs provide a healthier (and eventually perhaps cheaper) option than store-bought. The chickens could also serve education purposes for children (and everyone else) in a world where food production is increasingly becoming a mystery.
Lakewood has been considering allowing chickens as pets for several years, since 2011. While they are not technically legal yet, many families have been allowed to serve as trial subjects by owning a chicken coup in their yards. As of 2016, the program was expanded so that up to 50 homes in Lakewood are allowed to own chickens (with certain restrictions, such as that they are only allowed to have 6 hens at a time.)
Since the pilot program seems to be such a success, perhaps it is just a matter of time before chickens become legal for everyone. And it seems that this would be beneficial to making the city a better place.