Is there something fowl in Plano? Apparently not. There seems to be a multitude of reasons why the city of Plano and other municipalities have been unwilling to allow us tax paying residences to have backyard chickens. The reasons seem, to me, absurd. The main objections are chickens are considered livestock and raising chickens can attracts rodents and other urban wildlife. If these are their main concerns, why do they allow folks to have livestock such as rabbits and mini pigs? Why do they allow the feeding of dogs and cats outside? What about the feeding of squirrels and wild birds? Are they concerned about the folks that feed the raccoons and coyotes? Is the governing body aware that feeding of local wildlife promotes their numbers and the number of predators in the area? Do they really think that the bobcats, foxes, hawks, owls, skunks, opossums and the twice a year visit of mountain lions are here because of the excellent city services? Even the esteemed backyard pool is a draw for wildlife.
Another reason is the Animal Services folks are not equipped to handle chickens. Wrestling a five pound hen (the girl chicken) has got to be safer than a fifty pound dog. I would hate to think that an abandoned chicken would have to spend its last days in a pen designed for a dog or a cat. On the other hand I don’t think chickens care. If this sounds unfeeling, it’s not. I love animals and try to eat one a day. Besides, the folks that we have dealt with at Animal Services’ are top flight and I am sure they could adapt to this poultry challenge.
It is hard for me to look at a city as progressive when they are pushing sustainable lifestyles and green living and then not allowing folks to have a handful of hens. Maybe it’s because they can’t tax it like, oh let me think, cigarettes or booze. Cities ban smoking in buildings, streets, parks and the list goes on, but they still want the tax money from the sale of the same product. What if I grew tobacco in the garden next year? Probably can’t since gardens draw urban wildlife. But I love Plano, it’s a city where I can get a smoke and a bottle of hooch when I want, but not a fresh egg. Maybe we need to have a hen/no hen election for eggs like we had for liquor? I can raise a potbellied pig for bacon but not chickens for eggs. I can raise mice for my snake but not chickens for eggs. Is it all about public safety? To my knowledge, no mailman, police officer, firefighter, other public servant or anyone else has ever been sent to the ER from a chicken attack.
So what to do about the fowl situation? How about a maximum of five hens. No roosters allowed. Yeah I know that’s sexist and almost profiling. Excess eggs should be shared with you neighbors (aka bribery). If you have a chicken die you have to promise to put it in the trash can and not the recycling bin. On the cities side I see growth of city employment. There is also a possibility of increased tax revenue with the sale of chicken accessories. Since they aren’t doing much to combat the existing rodent and urban wildlife problem they could add a new department to track their expanding lack of action. Apropos of nothing what soever, I heard a rumor that Wells Brothers sells chicken feed. Just in case you know anyone that is actively engaged in the underground egg market.