Backyard Farming and The Rogue Chicken

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When my Everglades tomatoes were devastated by a wind storm and then the sprinkler system failing, I had to find replacement plants for my gardens. I ran across a local person selling plants for $5 each, so arranged a meeting to purchase four of them.

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was a sign sayingChickens are here to stay, Chickens are the American Way“. I instantly realized this was one of the local homeowners fighting the town over owning chickens within the city limits….a kindred spirit.

The second thing I noticed were that almost all of the vegetation growing in the yard was edible. From the sweet potato acting as a creeping ground cover in the garden area, to the rosemary “tree” that stood almost 5 feet tall.

As I spoke with the homeowner and was taken around to the main garden area, I saw that everything was neat and tidy….and edible in some way. Papayas, avocados, mangoes, sorrel, moringa, basil, acerola cherry, the list goes on and on. More items than I can recall, I was so overwhelmed.

And all within plain view of a major city roadway.

Yet no one would give it a second glance, unless they knew what they were looking at.  And yes, they had chickens. (And apparently a lawyer to help them in their ongoing case).

I’m not including pictures because I don’t want to draw any more attention to them. But from what I gathered, none of their neighbors had an issue with any of it.

Nor should they. What difference does it make if I plant sweet potatoes in my front yard, instead of English Ivy? Instead of pruning back my overgrown plants then stack the remains for the trash man to pick up, why not grow something that you can eat instead?

backyard farming
db’s Side Note

More and more people are starting to think about doing just this for a variety of reasons. Health, security, or just getting in touch with their roots (no pun intended).

And town “leaders”, those we elect to run things, as well as those in place to enforce rules, are starting to be swayed in our favor. I had a run-in with the local sheriff’s department over a rogue chicken roosting in  our neighborhood on someone’s car. Annoyed, they called Animal Control. That led them to me, since I’ve not hidden the fact that I had chickens. (And ducks. And quail. And rabbits…)

The officer explained his problem, and that while the county ordinances allow any animal as long is it wasn’t a noise or smell nuisance, the zoning board didn’t allow “farm animals” in residential areas. Crud! Busted! And since I never looked at the zoning regs, I’d always believed I was in the right. Guess not!

The deputy then went on to explain that he didn’t have a problem with what I had, but he DID have a called in complaint about this roosting chicken, and that had to be handled.

chicken jail
Chicken Jail

So I took it as a personal crusade to sort out the issue. The rogue chicken (not mine, by the way) was found and captured by the end of the day, the deputy was contacted, and like every good officer of the law should do, he walked away from my transgression, since he and I both believed the law was moronic, since I wasn’t hurting anyone, nobody had complained, and it was all on my own property. He thanks me for my efforts, took the chicken to a rural prison camp for chickens, and I never heard from the deputy again. Case closed.


Since then, I no longer have chickens or ducks for various reasons. I do have my “pet rabbits”, and my “pet quail”. I may again have “pet chickens” some day, but for now, I want to lay low. Fighting city hall isn’t how I want to move forward. I will if I must, but I prefer to do it in small stages, a little bit here and there. Much like the way our Constitutional freedoms are being eroded, one little bit at a time.

It’s time we all start to push back. If you live in town, even better. Go plant a sweet potato. Trade out your Queen Palms for coconut palms or your Maple trees for Apple trees.

Or adopt a chicken as a pet. Just keep good tabs on it…



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