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July 28, 2015

A Chicken in Every Pot?

Harry M. Covert

There is a lot of clucking going on in and around Frederick these days. Don’t confuse this with the idiocy suggesting the locale is mean and unkind to visitors of all persuasions, or some such discombobulation.

Echoes are emanating in various media, print and broadcast. At this point, though, there has been no objections from the Kentucky colonel or Louisiana fast-food fryers.

With all of the discordancy in downtown and throughout the highways and byways, the clucking abounds and the movement is underway. The movement? It’s to allow residents to raise fowl, the chicken variety, in their backyards, et al. The purpose, quite naturally, is to develop egg layers and occasional dinners.

The only way I can enjoy the delicacy usually is of the nuggets-style or cordon bleu. I know something about capons, Rhode Island Reds, pullets, and chicken and dumplings. I could never grab a nice hen from the backyard and chop off its head and…well you know the rest. My late grandmother was pretty good at this.

A local citizen has been making the rounds. First on the radio and then Patrick Pexton’s News-Post, trying to get some public support to change the city ordinance allowing residents to raise chickens.

If city leaders find it in their hearts to allow backyard chickens, it could open the doors to allow pet ponies and horses, pigs, goats and other animals.

There is no intent here to disparage chickens. Chickens are not pets, though some enjoy them running in and around. Chickens are probably the most popular meal in the country and Maryland. Of course, crabs and oysters rank mighty high – do steaks of all sorts. I enjoy seafood any time over fowl.

Crabs, oysters, clams and lobsters are never, have never and will never be, considered pets of any sort. They are compatible with hot sauce, hot butter, hush puppies and iced tea along with other thirst quenchers.

In these days of rapidly changing customs, perhaps it’s time to allow chicken-raising in the city. It will be interesting to hear those in favor speaking before the Board of Aldermen; also to listen to the antis – those who disagree.

Once local lawmakers figure a way to tax chicken coops, let’s face it, everybody will like it. Just think every time a chicken sandwich or nuggets or chicken salad and eggs of all sizes are sold, there’s a city and state tax.

Can the city ignore good citizens’ desire to keep chickens, free-range or whatever.

No matter how it’s said, there is indeed lots of “clucking” going on in the city and county. Chickens in the county don’t present a problem but they create a serious question in backyards, garages, coops or however they are kept. Chickens are not known as particularly clean beings.

To allow them within the city will require more health department inspectors and animal control officers. Yes, I hate to bring it up, but more taxes to those more at home with “pet rocks” and equally docile and cleaner members of the animal kingdom,

It will be interesting to see just how long it takes for the clucking to gain traction and find a proposed ordinance change.

The mayor, perhaps, can put off any consideration longer than he needed to select a police chief, even though the chief was named in closed session several weeks before made public.

So, will allowing chickens in the city bring about a move to change the law permitting a cow in the backyard? Or the numbskull movement to stop vaccinations.

Okay, for dinner tonight fried chicken, coleslaw, potato salad (Amish style) and homemade biscuits and hush-puppies with real butter.

Enough already. There are enough wonderful eateries around. No need to chase around the backyard for nice plump poultry.


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