Free Range

Chickens, random temple wall, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Here in New Mexico, we live in a village where people own goats instead of lawnmowers, and chickens rise with the finches each morning. We’re considered residential/agricultural. But in much of America, cities are struggling to decide what to do about chickens—chickens in backyard coops, roosters rousing the urban morning. I can hardly imagine this question in Asia, where chickens are a way of life. Even in Bangkok, our usual haunt is surrounded by neighborhood homes (and construction workers’ shacks), many of which keep chickens. They roam freely, pecking the dirt (and often the garbage), supplying eggs and feeding a lifestyle that has always been. For a long time, I couldn’t stand waking to a rooster. But now, I find something almost comforting in the faint sound coming from our neighbor’s backyard. Far better than an alarm clock!

7 thoughts on “Free Range

  1. I absolutely love waking up to a rooster. I used to spend summers in Americus, Georgia, and the farm rooster was our only alarm…to this day, it reminds me of being a child, safe in my bed…though not for long.

  2. Right on. We would love to have a few chickens here in the District of Columbia, your nation’s capitol. But we need to change the law. I wonder if Michelle Obama would like to take that on…

  3. Speaking of the ‘lil scratchers:

    July 11: Backyard Breakfast: Intro to Urban Chicken Keeping, with speaker KT LaBadie at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House and demonstration farm. Keep chickens in your own backyard! Topics covered include: Raising baby chicks, proper chicken diet, health and diseases, chicken coops, how to handle a chicken, egg production, and more.

    We are going. Would you like to join? It starts at 9:30am. I know the early Saturday time will be tough for you night owls, but well worth it…wait…owl…chicken…maybe we shouldn’t bring you together?

  4. Isabel, I know all this loving talk of chickens will make Jerry cringe (he shares no love for the rooster alarm), but I hear what you’re saying….

    Ed, while I was growing up in the suburban Midwest, there were certain things “city” and certain things “country” and never did they mix. Chickens were definitely country. It was something everyone accepted without much thought. It’s interesting how such barriers can change when people do start asking why…. or why not?

    Jon, I trust you to gather all of the crucial information. Alas, we can’t keep chickens. We’re gone too much (and you know how Jerry feels about the rooster). But maybe we can work on a “community” arrangement as we did with the truck?

  5. Vancouver BC is wrestling with the idea of “Urban Chickens” and the fear of the Avian Flu as it comes up in public debate. But several people I know here have chickens and a few more have recently bought several and now have fresh eggs in the AM. Kinda cool. And I have seen Jerry around chickens!! Not having any!

  6. We are currently debating this issue in my little town, too! In my former neighborhood, people were allowed backyard coops. It varies county by county across Metro Atlanta, then town by town. The politics surrounding chickens are just next-level, if not bordering on the insane. I would kill for fresh eggs. There is absolutely NO comparison. I will even take the rooster alarm clock, too!

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