January 2, 2009

Urban chickens gaining in favor

City dwellers across the United States are reported picking chickens as pets these days for fresher eggs, low-cost protein and pest control, trend leaders say.

Enthusiasts say they have persuaded officials in cities such as Fort Collins, Colo., Bloomington, Ind., and Brainerd, Minn., to change the rules and allow urban chickens in the back yard, USA Today says.

California Web developer and business consultant Rob Ludlow, for one, tells people his pets make him breakfast but it's no joke with five egg-laying hens in the back yard of his Pleasant Hill home.

Ben Ortiz, the Longmont, Colo., city planner whose city is mulling over the subject, says New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle all permit urban chickens.

He says cities generally limit residents to five or fewer hens, with no roosters.