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Urban Eggs

Chicken Feeding
Chicken Feeding

LAKE MACBRIDE— The smell of ammonia wafting between two houses was my first experience with urban chickens. Not good. The situation in Des Moines encompassed the arguments whether or not communities should permit people who live in cities to keep chickens.

Keeping chickens is a simple, if somewhat expensive way to produce food for the table. At the same time, some urban folk are caught up in their city life, so much so they don’t make time for the basic work of keeping chickens. Ammonia in the air is not good when people live close to each other, even if home grown eggs are pretty good.

Urban eggs and the chickens that lay them, are the epitome of bourgeois. Such chicken keepers are usually not impoverished. If anything, they can afford the extra expense of making a cage and providing litter and feed required to raise them. These home-based enterprises are status symbols: a material interest in pursuit of respectability among peers. Very boutique-like, and the definition of bourgeois.

I say live and let live, but cast a skeptical eye on people who would do better to purchase specially grown eggs from their local food market, than cloud the air among city dwellers with their inattention to things that matter, like changing chicken litter adequately.