Two years ago Providence followed a national trend and became one of the first urban areas in Rhode Island to legalize raising small backyard chicken flocks. Residents for the first time were able to raise up to six chickens and have the benefit of eating fresh eggs. Recently, Cranston’s Mayor Allan Fung vetoed an ordinance similar to Providence's that would allow residents to raise small backyard flocks, posing the question: should backyard chickens be legal in urban areas? What are the benefits and concerns about backyard chickens?
There are several good reasons why you should look into raising your very own backyard chickens.
- Eggs from backyard chickens are healthier.
- Eggs from backyard chickens are tastier.
- Chickens are natural defenders against insects: they will protect your yards!
- You know where you're getting your eggs from!
- Chicken compost (high in nitrogen) is awesome for your yard and garden!
- Children can learn the responsibility of raising chickens
- They’re fun to raise, learn about and even watch in the yard!
With these reasons and more, there is enough evidence to see why many urban areas are hopping on the trend of making it legal to raise backyard chickens. Now on to the concerns of raising chickens not only in urban areas but in general.
- Noise (If you have a rooster you know how this feels.)
- Damage to soil or garden
These can be pretty big concerns, and I didn’t even list why Cranston vetoed the ordinance. Cranston has had a rat problem over the last couple of years, and many residents are concerned that with more backyard chickens, the bigger the rat population could get. Three major factors found that residents and the mayor thought would be deal-breakers were: rats, noise and property values.
Noise is an obvious complaint of neighborhoods and this would only happen if owners raise roosters. The last argument is property values of homes and whether or not it deters buyers from owning a home next to one that raises chickens. Warren and Barrington both passed ordinances recently allowing owners to raise chickens. Many other house markets in Rhode Island allow the ownership of chickens. As stated in the Providence Business Journal, “The fact that chickens are legal in many of the state’s hottest property markets would seem to point to flocks now being considered desirable by potential buyers.”
So what do you think? Should they be legal? Please comment and let us know what you think of the issue!