The city of Austin, Texas just announced that they are offering free chicken keeping classes and offering a $75 rebate for anyone who purchases a chicken coop, reported KVUE-TV.
It’s all a part of their Resource Recovery Home Composting Rebate Program, whose goal is to help Austin reach zero waste by removing food waste from the landfill. The goal of these chickens is to help recycle the food waste.
“Chickens recycle your food scraps while giving you fresh eggs and creating healthy soil,” said the city.
Unfortunately, other cities do not have the same priorities. Many cities not only not help with chicken keeping, but fine their residents for doing so.
Backyard Chickens’ Legal Status
Backyard chickens are not legal in every city. Chickens and other farm animals are often prohibited within city limits. Having chickens in cities with such regulations can result in fines, similar to what happened to Jennifer Steward-Webb of Lorain City, Ohio, who paid a $10 fine for her chickens and $110 in court fees.
Other cities have been raising fees for keeping chickens.
A list and discussion about chicken laws and ordinances can be found on the BackyardChickens.com forums, where you can also talk to other people who have or want to get chickens.
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How to Make Backyard Chickens Legal in Your City
If your city does not allow chickens, but you would like to change that, talk to others in your community who share your mission: community gardens, environmental groups, animal right groups, and farmers.
Together, you can start going to city council meetings and speaking out about this cause. Use other cities as examples, such as Seattle and Madison, Wisconsin. And most importantly, explain the benefits backyard chickens bring.
Benefits of Backyard Chickens
There are many benefits of owning chickens that go beyond recycling food waste:
- Food security
- The eggs are so much healthier AND better tasting
- Chickens are natural bug control, and even get rid of ticks
- They make high-quality fertilizer for the garden
*Article originally appeared at Alt Health Works.