The global pandemic, along with the supply chain disruption, has led to a new interest the lost art of backyard gardening and urban homesteading. Despite the intense Arizona sunshine, you can grow year-round produce in your desert garden, or even keep a chicken or two. It is not uncommon for residents in metropolitan areas such as Peoria, Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Tucson to raise the world’s most celebrated feathered friend.
Local Government Constraints
Backyard chickens are treasured in Arizona’s single-family homes, but legal issues blight the dream of farm-fresh eggs in some areas. Residents in Glendale have hoped for years that the city would allow backyard chickens in their neighborhoods. Residents collected signatures in favor of backyard chickens, outpacing those who opposed by a margin of 12:1.
City council members Aldama, Turner & Hugh all voted for legalizing chickens, while Ray Malnar, Lauren Tolmalchoff, Joyce Clark & Weiers voted against them. A negative advertisement was run at the time of the vote that may have swayed the decision of the council members by the well-known chicken distributor, Hickman Farms ( Yes, that Hickman family. Clint Hickman was on the Maricopa Board of Supervisors during the 2020 elections troubles and lost 165,000 hens in a fire in 2021.)
In the ad, Glenn Hickman wrote a paragraph describing the negatives of chicken ownership such as dust, care, and illness but did not examine the positive position.
“…dogs are louder, stinkier and do more damage than a few chickens.”-Twitter @nancygo22432376
People find backyard chickens to be rewarding due to the quality of eggs and enjoyment from their birds. Families with extreme food allergies may need to have control over the feed for their chickens, so raising chickens can be more of a necessity than a hobby for some families. People choose grass-fed beef for similar reasons.
State of Arizona
In the past, legislators including David Farnsworth have made attempts to loosen restrictions for backyard chickens at the state level. Senator Farnsworth and others challenged fowl ownership restrictions at the state level through Senate Bills 1140 and 1150. These bills were never heard by the rest of the senate. Senator John Kavanagh chose not to hear SB1140 in committee. This year, Farnworth and Kavanagh are running in Senate races. A seemingly innocuous subject like chicken ownership may play a role in the outcome of the 2022 election cycle. The issue of poultry ownership also raises a timeless question of personal agency. How much power should the government have to micromanage your life?
Last month President Biden announced possible food shortages. Poultry is one of the items predicted to be in short supply in 2022.
Have you ever tried quail? Some backyard homesteaders are discussing raising quail instead of chickens for several reasons.
- Quail are much smaller and take up very little space
- Quail are quiet birds
- They look cool
- Some home owners association are more tolerant of smaller birds
- Their eggs are known for their nutritional value
- Quail mature faster than chicken so if you decided to choose backyard quail you may be eating eggs a little sooner
- They are cute
It may take 6 quail eggs to make up the volume of one chicken egg.