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Chickens … or dogs … fur or feathers in the backyard?

My Sense and the City column this week is all about dogs — why I love ’em, why their owners sometimes bug me, and why I’ll take fur over feathers!

You can read it online at: Which do you prefer in your backyard — chicken or dogs?

Photo courtesy of engnr_chik on Flickr (some rights reserved)

Photo courtesy of engnr_chik on Flickr (some rights reserved)

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Posted on February 5th, 2011Comments RSS Feed
8 Responses to Chickens … or dogs … fur or feathers in the backyard?
  1. I’ve lived with 10 different dogs in my life (okay, 6 were puppies that weren’t around long) and they are great pets – responsive, affectionate, protective and our most recent pet got us out walking around the neighborhood, which is both healthy and instructive.

    I’d recommend a dog for anyone responsible enough to hold up their end of the commitment.

    But I’ve also had chickens for about a third of my life, and right now feels like more of a chicken time and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps because they seem closer to being wild, their behavior is more fascinating and entertaining than dogs. And in all my years of dogs (and cats) none of them ever produced anything I wanted to eat. The (sometimes daily) miracle of a cackle and a warm egg in a nestbox is very affirming (and scrumptious). And chickens seem more appreciative of treats than dogs or cats. In addition, chickens are social creatures and having several with different personalities contributes immeasurably to the enjoyment of being in their presence. I’d never consider keeping four dogs just to relish their interactions, but four chickens are very manageable.

    So I won’t ding dogs, but if you’ve never spent a few hours watching a small flock forage in a backyard, you might be surprised.

    All we are saying is: Give peeps a chance.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Jono, for reading and sharing your thoughts. I love your line “Give peeps a chance.” and if you have any photos of chickens you might have — I’d love to do a follow up story about chickens in the city either here on my blog or in my print column. I actually was a proponent of the whole chicken in the city thing — more for sustainable reasons than anything else. And thought it would be a good idea to at least let the idea be tried out. Would welcome more thoughts from you on this or images if you care to share!

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  3. I’ve had a couple of dogs, cats, a canary, a love bird, a cockatiel that could say, “Here kitty-kitty”, and ducks that make the best eggs ever.

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  4. What no sheep Johnny P?

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  5. I find it curious that the City of Sarasota wants such control over a few chickens. Like no roosters? A dog can bark all day, even at you across your own property line. And what recourse do you have? But a few crows in the morning seems out of the question. And cats, they freely roam the neighborhood and poop in adjoining landscaping. Other than hiring a full time security guard you are practically defenseless. But did you know, a chicken will not leave sight of thier own coup? They prefer the safety of being close to home. The tight constraints of only allowing up to four hens, who will never never know primal love, and have to contend with a “free range” law, which ironically is cage containment only, sets up a recipe for irresponsible ownership. If the owner of the hens do not properly blend the commen chicken feed (mullet) with a blend of good seed, plus grit, then the health problems will show up in the eggs, and even their immune system. The tending process will become more challenging and even less pleasant. A bird that can roam to eat insects will be healthier, cleaner to cage, and dare i say it?, Even Happier.

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  6. I had/have the same questions. Dogs come into my yard and leave their doggie doo. Cats come by and spray bushes, tires, building corners, and terrorize my birds and my indoor cats. I don’t really have a problem with chickens when I compare it to this.

    Reply
  7. We had a farm remedy for such strays, old school if you know what I mean?

    Reply

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