Evidently, there are quite a few illegal flocks in New Haven, Connecticut, and this story's a bit of an exposé into the hows and whys of keeping chickens in one's backyard.
The author, Betsy Yagla, covers a lot of ground in her story about the urban chicken movement. It's stuff we've all heard before and can recognize in ourselves, but then Yagla drops this bombshell:
There are two groups of urban chicken farmers — the low-income, mostly immigrant group that keeps chickens as a side business by selling extra meat and eggs. This group doesn't always limit their flock to a half dozen hens. They're mainly kept as livestock, not pets.Beg pardon?
The other group is upper-class environmentalists who keep boutique hens as pets, but eat or share the eggs with friends.
I had to re-read the article to make sure Yagla wasn't just describing the New Haven urban chicken farmers. She wasn't. This is how she sees all us urban chicken keepers as falling neatly into one of two groups. Immigrant law-breakers or well-to-do show-bird keepers.
The family here behind this blog are not upper-class, and we definitely don't have "boutique hens" in our backyard. Our ancestors immigrated to the States many generations ago (but we're all immigrants, no?), yet we manage to abide by the laws for keeping chickens here in Redwood City. We're keeping chickens as pets for the eggs and the poop and the entertainment and the education.
What kind of urban chicken keeper (or wannabe) are you?