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Backyard chickens an appropriate topic for legislature

I’m so glad to see that the state of Arizona might take a stab at this issue! Why didn’t I know about this story (“Backyard fowl bill filed by Mesa lawmaker,” Jan. 24) a few years ago? I’ve been following “chicken fights” across the country since 2009. I chronicled many of the more humorous and poignant ones in a guide to backyard chicken keeping called, “The Backyard Chicken Fight.” I wish I had had THIS story!

So far, only municipalities have weighed in on this issue. And, yes, HOAs are starting to join the conversation. For many, the ability to keep backyard chickens has become a property rights issue. It’s also about keeping chickens for the vitamin-rich eggs, food security (knowing exactly from where your food originates) and sustainability. These are the big reasons people keep chickens. You can also count on these sweet birds to provide nitrogen rich fertilizer and they will patrol your property for bugs: natural pest control! It goes hand-in-hand with the healthy move to more urban homesteading.

Most chicken keepers I know are thoughtful stewards to their environment and their flocks. So, the smells and noise issues are irrelevant. As more and more people want these benefits from their backyard pets, I hope more and more states will weigh in on the backyard chicken debate.

— Gretchen Anderson of Eagle, Idaho, is author of “The Backyard Chicken Fight and “Secrets of the Lazy Urban Gardener.”

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