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Boston Backyards in a Game of Chicken w/ the City

Meet the Gags of Roslindale. They have six hens in a coop they built from their children's old playhouse. Neighborhood children happily help them care for the chickens, and, in return, they share in the 1,200 eggs, give or take, that the chickens produce yearly. The Gags, as far as the City of Boston is concerned, are pressing their pluck (what, you can do better?).

The city's zoning laws prohibit raising poultry. But there may be as many as 11 other Boston households doing what the Gags are doing; and the number could soon grow. Even the chief cock of the walk, Mayor Tom Menino, has given tacit support to the idea of raising chickens locally. It would be part of an urban farming initiative he helped launch last month. Others, though, see the whole thing as thoroughly fowl (natch?), an invitation to lower property values, weird sounds, weirder smells, and even bird flu.

Still, Brookline, Belmont, Newton, Lexington and other would-be Boston neighborhoods already allow domestic poultry (as do other cities like New York and Chicago); and that there is a push on by locals like the Gags. The drumstick, er, beat is building. Stay tuned.

· Boston's Would-Be Chicken Farmers Lay Out Case [Globe]
· Megaboston! The Plan That (Almost) Ate the Suburbs [Curbed Boston]
· Beantown: Boston's Going Locavore [Curbed Boston]