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Chickens in the city

Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010, at 9:43 AM

I've read where several cities recently, including Knoxville, are or are considering allowing residents to keep chickens in their backyards for eggs.

Knoxville's proposed ordinance would allow up to six hens, but no roosters, and $50 permits would be required.

Some of us in Shelbyville have seen or know of chickens in yards.

Would you mind having a few chickens as neighbors?


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freakyfriday, You just reminded me of another one of my chores from childhood days. Pouring the water bucket out on the porch and scrubbing it with a broom to get the chicken poop off. Oh, by the way, that little white topping on chicken poop is chicken poop too.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Aug 9, 2010, at 4:57 PM

Ok, just re-read the article, maybe ignorance took over for me just now, I suppose if you built a very decent chicken coup and you had a nice sized backyard it would be okay to keep chickens in the backyard. But they like to roost so turning them out into your yard they'll roost on anything. From your car to your child's bike and everything in between. They poop all the time and don't really think of where they poop they just poop. Also, you have to buy special meds & feed for them and water. Then, theres this stuff for chickens/poultry whatever....called "Teramyicin" you put it in there water, they drink it and whatever diesease they've got it heals. You put it in there water which is also the water your dog and or cat drinks, the dog/cat dies within two hours from a severe reaction to the ingredients in the "Teramyicin". Chickens don't have boudaries and they will run about if you allow them to. Which will eventually end up in there dimise. As they'll be eaten, killed by a gun, or ran over. But if you build a nice enough enclosure, room for them to roam, but it keeps them confined to one space. And you take care of them I guess it'd be okay to keep them.

In any case you should weigh the pro's and con's I've compiled my own personal list of them

Pros:

Eggs on hand

A alarm clock

Something new to look at

Perhaps a new pet

Interestiing conversation piece

Cons

An alarm clock. (Chickens eyesight is poor they'll mistake the city lights for sunrise and crow allll night long

Something new to look at. (Something new to smell to. POOP!)

Perhaps a new pet. You get attatched to a chicken your sitting yourself up for heartache. They don't live long ever.

Interesting conversation piece. (If you call being cursed out by neighbors interesting. They probably won't be please with stepping in chicken feces all the time.

They can breed. Chicks are cute. But they will grow into big chickens. FAST

They'll drive indoor animals crazy. Dogs/cats instincts is to kill these animals and your letting them roam there turf free as a welll...bird.

-- Posted by freakyfriday on Mon, Aug 9, 2010, at 11:50 AM

Just a quick question...then I'll put my opinion in.

Why does everybody think "fresh eggs" taste better. THEY ARE DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how revolted I was one day last winter when I went outside to collect chicken eggs from my parents chickens went in, cracked open an egg and nothing but a huge clot of blood and some other brown stuff oozed into the plate. I almost threw up. Yeah, farm fresh eggs often times means "the hens sitting on them and incubating them which forms a fetus. Which may or may not end up inside your frying pan. Also when I go to Wal-Mart and buy eggs and I go outside and grab an egg from a hen in the yard and I go inside and crack them both. The Wal-Mart egg is always a healthy looking bright yellow yolk and it just slides right out the shell. The "ffe" or farm fresh egg is dark brown and extremeley thick. THATS SICK. I'll stick to Wal-Mart & Kroger for my eggs thank you!

Now with that being said, My parents live out on 130 E nine ten miles out of town, they've got about thirty or forty five chickens. They also live on two hundred acres so you be the judge on whether that's to many chickens! Anyway, chickens don't generally understand the concept of "Litterbox" or "doing your buisness away from where people walk" so if they come up on your front porch they're going to mess ALLLLLLL OVER it. They "roost" to, on your cars, on your lawnmower, on your patio furniture, on your grill, on your swimming pool diving board, on anything that they can get onto. And guess what they do? Poop. Imagine your neighbor's disgust when he walks outside IN TOWN to get his Sunday paper and he steps in chicken feces. Nothing but nothing stinks quite as bad as chicken feces. Chickens are not bright animals, they might not fall prey to neighbor dogs or cats because the chicken can fly, but they would probably fall prey to the Camry driving down the street. I think in a nutshell, you should think of whether a chicken would be happy in town or in the country. Because you really should do what's right for the animal. They don't have a voice! :( Chickens were made for country life, if they were made to be frou frou pets then you would see people walking there chickens and there dogs. Leave the chickens where there at, Tyson brings enough of them to the city!

-- Posted by freakyfriday on Mon, Aug 9, 2010, at 11:39 AM

tyson's

-- Posted by matt fowler on Sun, Aug 8, 2010, at 7:02 PM

Right now I am wondering if there are chickens in my water system making a mess since I am one of those water customers in Wartrace which is served by Bell Buckle and having to deal with the current water situation that has been discussed in the paper. Definitely not fun!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:00 AM

LOL!

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 10:44 AM

Leeiii; You are correct in most cases. For example, that is why so many chickens get killed at intersections. The street crossing evolution in chickens has not become sophisticated yet to the level of safely crossing intersections. My extremely sophisticated study using a nice goverment grant may yet yeild a solution to this serious social problem when dead chickens clog intersections. My chicken grant is exhausted, but I hope to get back to the problem as soon as I complete my study of The Problems of Canadian beavers in warm Tennessee valley waters. It seems some irresponsible pranksters switched IDs of beaver Sam and beaver Marie, also beaver Carolyn and beaver Ralph. I don't know how many beavers have the wrong ID. This will require a hugh increase in my beaver budget.

-- Posted by Grits on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 9:15 AM

Grits, I think that maybe it should take more than two to watch for traffic. It seems to me that two do not always do a good job of watching.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 8:37 AM

How many chickens does it take to cross a road? Three, one to cross the road and two to watch out for traffic.

-- Posted by Grits on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 8:19 AM

Agreed,leeiii,and the accumulation of droppings on non-grassy areas can present a unique aromatic experience when activated by a soft summer shower and humid conditions.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 7:32 AM

ilikeoldsongs, For your neighbor on the lower side that has to leave his windows up, maybe I should mention the stench that comes from pouring scalding water over the chicken just before the plucking process. There is no smell quite like wet chicken feathers.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:27 AM

Well, let me think out loud here for a minute or two, and maybe kinda compile a mental list of positives vs negatives in the city chicken discussion.

First, some negative aspects to ownership:

(1) Here in town the houses are jammed up almost against each other, so my chickens cackling several times a day for whatever reasons are going to be heard inside my neighbors houses, without question.

(2) My neighbor on the "upper side" has a lovely four year old daughter, and a newborn boy, just home from the hospital last week. I sure hope that the incessant cackling of my hens doesn't wake the newborn too often, because that probably wouldn't go over too well with his mother. And that precious little girl, gosh I hope she doesn't see me when I wring that chicken's head off for sunday dinner, as something like that could traumatize a child for life. At least that is what I suspect her lawyer will say when her mother sues me for child abuse. And of course it's against present medical thinking and advice to expose young babies to the possibility of contracting histoplasmosis. No doubt the lawyer will bring that up too, and add reckless endangerment to the charges against me.

(3)Now, where do I start with my neighbor on the "lower side"? Poor fellow, nearly eighty years old, has to leave his windows up for cooling because his social security check is so small he can't afford to operate his air conditioner. How in the world will he be able to take his afternoon nap with those hens sounding like they are sitting on his window sill?

leeiii, that three pound fryer at the store is sounding better to me by the minute.

On a serious note, Histo comes in different forms and is seldom problematic, especially if treated. Despite that fact I lost a cousin to the disease more than forty years ago, and he was only about 37 and seemed to be in good health, otherwise. Just because the odds are in your favor doesn't offer any guarantees in this life.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sun, Aug 1, 2010, at 9:49 PM

Maybe auto paint shops are behind this?? Chickens can't ask for the new law, but they sure enjoy roosting on the hoods of cars with some real scrachy claws. Vets may make a lot of money treating obese cats when they pig out endlessly on chickens. Cats are mean animals when some game is around. My 120 lb pit bull Huffy is afraid of my extremely fat cat Bigwiggy. I believe Huffy sees a hugh ball of fur with awesome sets of viscious looking claws. I'm not suggesting that we let pit bulls run free, but maybe if we let chickens run wild, then we should lock up fat cats.

-- Posted by Grits on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 8:55 PM

Another good point is that the only way you can get a good frying size chicken (pound and three quarters to two pounds) is to raise them yourself. If you buy one at the store it is going to be two and a half pounds or more and that is not a good frying size chicken.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 7:59 PM

Chickens are for the most part clean. It's people who don't care for them properly that are nasty. This is the South, let's not get so high falutin we can't keep a few Chickens for egg laying.

-- Posted by MyMrMarty on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 7:51 PM

i had a hen and a rooster adopt me one year.. I think they came from the mexicans that lived behind us so we built a coop for them got some more chickens and had 3 fresh eggs each morning until the raccoon got in there and killed every chicken i had. :(

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 8:25 AM

I agree with wonderwhy on this . . . I don't see a real problem with it as long as they are kept under control and maintained but I know that many people would not do this properly and it would lead to conflict and arguments. It is probably best to leave the chickens out in the country and on farms.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 7:42 AM

Properly contained and a limited amount should not be a problem. However, on a farm you have better control of pets that may find the chickens tasty. Dogs dig, and can get out, cats wander all over, would the chickens be to tempting in more crowded areas for the local pets (predators) to realistically coexist? Even the best intentions to keep pets in their own yards can fail if the temptation is to great. I see a lot of domestic disputes in the making between what would normally be neighbors who would get along. It is not realistic to think that there would not be problems, even if all parties do their best to prevent them. That being said it could be fun if everything went well.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 11:33 PM

Most of the running wild yard chickens I used to know were very friendly and had good manners. However, I do shudder even today when I think about the times my mother, aunt or grandmother would grab a chicken by it's head, sling it's body around and around breaking it's neck, then tossing it out in the yard to flop, flip, kick and finally die. I lost my apetite for chicken for a few years when my mother killed a chicken we called "the high flyer". He liked to perch on top of the yard swing back and lift his wings when the wind moved the swing back and forth.

Some memories are special and some blaise', when looking back at memories from one's old age.

-- Posted by Grits on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 5:19 PM

I live out in the county, so I hear roosters every morning. I'm probably wierd, but I kind of like the sound. As far as chickens in the city, I don't see a real problem with it, provided thay are properly housed and taken care of. Nothing better than fresh eggs!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 3:38 PM

I really wouldn't care for a neighbor's rooster greeting sunrise...and with luck it would be a loud rooster.

-- Posted by bomelson on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 2:31 PM

Pigs I can see might be a little too stinky for the town but chickens.... no real problem. Roosters are little noisy and I see where that could be a problem, but otherwise I think it is fine.

Their benefits outweigh any issues I can think of but I would not want mine roaming the neighborhood.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 2:18 PM

Nasty yes, but finger licking good on the Sunday Dinner (that is lunch for Yankees) table along with Cathead biscuits, Chicken gravy, and whupped taters, and garden grown Green Beans.

As a child growing up within a stone's throw of the Horse Show grounds, my Mother always kept an enclosed chicken pen along with a hen house, and she also kept a brooder in the garage.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 1:07 PM

When I lived in a small town in another state we had chickens running around in the "city limits." Our "free range" chicken population occurred because heavy storms would knock down the chicken coops on some of the farms on the outskirts of town and the chickens would move to town.

They were no problem, but when a rooster would involve himself with the "free range" brood, he would set up housekeeping on front porches and under cars in driveways. He was very protective of "his" hens and would attack when you tried to shoo them away. I became very adept with a sling shot and pebble to move him and his brood off.

I had no problems with the hens and even got some free eggs out of them. I think it would be fine, provided they were housed properly. But I don't live in the city limits here, so it would not effect me directly. I'd say it would need to be put to a vote by the city residents.

-- Posted by amalphia on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 10:01 AM

I really don't think they should be allowed in the city limits.If I recall there was something on the books that keep chickens and hogs out of the city.I wish someone would check into that,because I see a lot of them running around.We try to keep our city clean,but as we know CHICKENS IS NASTY!!!

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 10:00 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.