Dear Foodie: Urban Chicken Farming Etiquette

Dear Foodie,

My neighbor just acquired several baby chickens to raise in her backyard. First of all, they are adorable and my neighbor assures me that roosters are not among them (a sidebar question is how does she know at this stage) so I don’t have to worry about them becoming my alarm clock in the morning. But, here is my issue: several of those sweet babies are leaving “deposits” in my yard. My neighbor has a beautiful coop in which to keep them corralled, but during their exercise sessions in the great outdoors, my yard must be the equivalent of the outdoor privy which is commonly located outside the living area. What can I do? – Henpecked in Tennessee

Dear Henpecked,

The urban chicken movement is the new “pet” arena, but with benefits – eggs galore and an occasional fried chicken breast if one of those critters gets out of line. Your dog can’t give you benefits like that! But that being said, you are obviously not a convert to this aspect of the local food movement and can tolerate only so much of it. This obviously falls into the “fences make good neighbors” kind of conversation. But then fencing is an expensive option. Or you can go to Dear Abby who is more experienced with etiquette lessons than Dear Foodie. Why not gently approach your neighbor and explain that Millie, Gillie, Frilly, and friends need to stop pooping on your yard – ok that is not so gentle or subtle but it is truthful. Your neighbor has the responsibility to keep her love of the “movement” off of your property by stopping their “movements” in your yard. Just don’t expect to get delicious eggs from that neighbor in the near future. Oh, and it is always fun to find an excuse to shop at Williams and Sonoma and spend discretionary dollars on something besides the local YMCA for kids backpacks– so get into urban chicken farming and get a turn-key coop for just $700…about the same cost as a fence. I’m not kidding.

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