What the cluck?!?

Our fine-feathered friends on the City Council need to start pecking

For the past several weeks, CN&R Staff Writer Christine LaPado has been writing about chickens. In her GreenHouse column, she’s been trying to egg on the Chico City Council, which has been cooped up in council chambers for far too long. She wants it to show some pluck and ask staff to rewrite the anachronistic municipal code restrictions that make it financially prohibitive to keep chickens in one’s back yard.

OK, enough scratching for metaphors. But, really, Christine’s right: Why should someone have to pay $1,500 (or, in some cases, $2,799) for a permit to keep three or four hens? Hens aren’t harmful, make little or no noise, eat bugs and produce reliably safe eggs. For families with children, they offer a touch of the farm in an urban environment.

Dozens of cities up and down California have rewritten their ordinances to allow backyard chickens—with certain restrictions. Roosters shouldn’t be allowed, for obvious reasons. And it would be wise to prohibit chickens in very small yards and to require that coops be set back from fences.

Having said that, who wouldn’t rather have six hens living next door than six dogs?

A lot of Chico residents have told the council of their desire to keep chickens, and back in June council members expressed some interest in looking into the matter. As far as we can tell, nothing has happened so far. The council has other eggs to fry, apparently. Well, we’re not going to take this “laying” down. We cry fowl!