Having chickens in the back yard was fairly common when I was growing up in the ‘50s in Westport, Conn.
We kept a flock and so did our neighbors, who eventually had nine children. At the time, chicken feed came in cloth sacks with calico print patterns and we girls often wore summery skirts my mother made us all from the repurposed material.
Westport has changed a lot. Most people equate it now with movie stars, Martha Stewart and McMansions. What hasn’t altered is its acceptance of backyard chickens…
In Stonington, it takes three acres – to have two chickens. Legally.
Certainly, there are many chickens living under the radar here. But why not make them legal? And why not let more people “share the joys of chicken keeping?”…
Like Westporters – and in a growing number of communities around the country — those who wished could gather the freshest possible eggs from a backyard coop, use the poop for fertilizer, reduce the number of ticks and other insects in their yards, feed their flocks kitchen scraps and add another piece of self-sufficiency to their lives.
This discussion about raising chickens has occurred in numerous American communities in recent years, particularly with more people interested in knowing where their food came from as well as cutting costs in light of the recession. But, can chickens and McMansions go together?
1. McMansions are generally associated with wealth and higher property values. Chickens might eat into the image.
2. McMansions are sometimes associated with big houses on smaller lots. This doesn’t necessarily leave much room for keeping animals or having large gardens or doing much at all with the yard.
3. Allowing chickens might help improve the image of McMansions with critics. One big criticism of the homes is that they are not environmentally friendly. Imagine big homes making space for free range chickens, having green roofs, being powered by solar panels or geothermal sources, or being very energy efficient (passive homes or net zero energy homes). Perhaps chickens (and other livestock?) could help McMansions be more green.
In the end, fighting over allowing homeowners to keep chickens mirrors the debate over McMansions themselves: how much latitude should individual homeowners have with their own property?