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Ethical Eating

Lake Worth to Debate the Birds and the Bees Tonight

Chicks and ducks and bees better scurry: Tonight at 8 p.m. the Lake Worth City Commission is set to discuss an ordinance to allow up to seven chickens and ducks and "a limited number of bees" to be raised within city limits. The "chicken on every plot" movement has taken off around the country, as city folks are starting to get into raising a hen or two for fresh eggs (and the occasional roast chicken). Viz, this snippet from the New York Times:

City dwellers who raise chickens are springing up around the country.

Groups organized on the Internet in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Austin,

Tex., are host to chicken-centric social events, and there are dozens

of books -- a whole new form of chick lit -- on raising chickens,

including Barbara Kilarski's "Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in

Cities, Suburbs and Other Small Spaces," and related titles like

"Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker," by Herrick


Leave it to Lake Worth to be the South Florida city marching bravely forward into urban farming (Key West is the only other city to allow legal chickies). We already have an anarchist city commissioner and a transgendered city manager -- flocks of domestic fowl will only add to the general sense of a town gone pleasantly haywire. I've had a yen to keep guinea fowl for the past couple of years, and I've even considered trying to do it secretly: Now there'll be no reason for subterfuge. And frankly, it's not like nobody's doing it already. I have personal knowledge of at least one very pretty black hen that has made B street her home; she roams freely in my neighborhood (and she's gotten very good at dodging the pit bulls).

No doubt my planned guinea hen project will go down as yet another wildly expensive agricultural hobby, right alongside the pathetic heirloom tomatoes, the citrus trees that manage to squeeze out one tangerine every other year, and the pineapples underwhelming us with their lack of fecundity. But it's nice to know that I'm part of a large movement of silly yuppies with way too much time on our hands. And this time I'll have a government body to blame for encouraging me.

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Gail Shepherd
Contact: Gail Shepherd

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