Sunday, December 5, 2010

Six Hens or Four Hens?

So how did City Planning Staff decide to abandon the six chickens specifically advocated by CLUCK and substitute a number one third lower? One likely explanation is that they were influenced by a popular comparative study that looked at urban chicken in 25 locales: Residential Urban Chicken Keeping: An Examination of 25 Cities, a report that points out that "The most common number of birds permitted was 3 or 4, which will supply on average between 1 and 2 dozen eggs per week. Depending on the size of the family in the household, this may be sufficient." In addition, the sample ordinance included at the end of the report limits hens to four.

But the sentence that follows the above quote is significant: "In some cases however, 3 to 4 birds may not be enough for larger family sizes or allow for giving away eggs to neighbors. [Emphasis added]In cities where it is legal to sell your eggs at farmers markets, 3 or 4 birds would not be sufficient. So what is a good number of chickens to allow in residential backyards for home consumption? Thomas Kriese, an urban chicken keeper who writes online about chicken keeping and ordinances,feels that no more than 6 birds should be permitted. [Emphasis added]“That's approximately 3 dozen eggs a week which is a LOT of eggs to consume, plus that's a lot of food to go through, and excrement to clean up,” he stated in a personal correspondence."

And while it is true that the most common numbers cited were 3 or 4, its also true that the average was higher, actually above six. and some of the numbers cited in the study are now outdated. Seattle, for instance, was shown as allowing only 3 hens, the historic limit -- that number has now been increased to 8.

CLUCK wants neighbors to benefit and the best way to achieve that without going overboard on birds is to look to the six bird maximum advocated by chicken expert and blogger Thomas Kriese and CLUCK.

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