There’s a small group in the city — a handful to a dozen, depending on the rumors — who live in fear of having their secret revealed. They will discuss their secret only with other secret-keepers, the only ones who can be trusted, because they know what could happen if it becomes public.
According to the Duluth city charter, it's illegal to raise chickens in any Duluth residential zone. And that's what the chicken fans are trying to change.
There's a poll attached to the story asking "Should chickens be allowed within Duluth city limits?" and as of this writing, the vote is 122 for and 32 against. (Feel free to vote in it yourself!)
There's also a (as of now short) discussion forum for registered users to chime in with their views, and it seems as though the usual "no cock-a-doodle-doo near me!" and "they smell and their feed will attract rats!" dissenting views have been duly posted. For the most part, however, it seems the more rational pro-poultry heads are prevailing.
As I think to how much noise Sophia and ZsuZsu make (which isn't much, to be honest), I don't know how successful we'd be at hiding our chicken farming ways if it was illegal here in Redwood City. Maybe with enough fresh "hush eggs" we could keep our neighbors from ratting us out.
However, outside the occasional loud squawking, I don't really see how our birds are impacting those around us except in beneficial ways. The only folks who seem hesitant about chickens in a backyard are those few friends of mine who grew up on a farm where there were LOTS of chickens (and roosters) with the attendant smells and sounds and unpleasantness.
With just a handful of chooks, the sights and smells and sounds are easily maintained.
Seems to me the fears around urban chicken farming are more imagined than real.
Here's hoping the Duluth residents can push through the irrational resistance so as to own their chickens in the open.