Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

The National Post never fails to please, and this morning was no different. Imagine me sitting at my kitchen table, ruffling the pages of my cyber-newspaper and seeing this story.

It seems that the good people of Vancouver B.C.-you know, the city where a refrigerator carton under an overpass will cost you $250,000 to buy-where was I? Oh. I remember.

Do you think I'm kidding-about the refrigerator box? I checked the prices and the least expensive condominium I could find in Vancouver, a 500 square foot number, was listed at $350,000. That's not much larger than a Maytag box.

Some folks have decided that in the name of sustainability, cityfarming, and all good green things, that the city ordinances that banned backyard chicken coops should now be replaced with a more chicken-friendly version which would allow such things in backyards. It's in keeping with the prevailing ethos which allowed Hizzoner, the mayor of Vancouver, to annex a cuink of the lawn in front of City Hall for a community garden.

The problem of what to do with the chickens when mother hands you the hatchet on Sunday morning and says if you want roast chicken there are a few-ahem-chores to accomplish is left for another day and time.

Also, the problem of what to do when your neighbor's pet yardbird decides it's time to serenade the ladies at 4:30 am on Tuesday morning and you need to be rested for your work is left unsaid as well.

Local poultry producers are against the measure, as are animal health activists rightly concerned about the spread of avian influenza which has decimated chicken flocks in mesne places.

Don't get me wrong-I'm all for cityfarming, and if it was up to me, we'd be growing a lot more in the way of victory gardens. Fact is, in these times, scratching the dirt and letting Gaia's increase grace our tables is a good idea anytime, and if present trends continue, we may well see more of this practice. I expect to see a lot more folks out at Phil Funk's farm in Grimes this summer gathering tomatoes and sussing out the mysteries of home canning.

And that's good. But pet chickens in town? No thanks. Peace and quiet is worth something too.


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