Fir0002 at Wikimedia Commons under a GNU Free Documentation license.)In a victory for would-be self-sufficient urban farmers and organic gardeners alike, the city council in Fort Collins, Colorado, this week voted to let residents across town keep chickens in their backyards.

Lovers of fresh eggs and healthy compost will have some limitations on their chicken-keeping capabilities, though. Each residence is limited to no more than six chickens (sorry, roosters, you’re out: it’s your loud crowing that sealed the deal). Birds also must be kept in secure enclosures that are at least 15 feet from the property line. (That’s probably also a benefit for the chickens, though, just in case the next-door neighbor has a poultry-hating dog or cat.)

Oh, and no chicken-slaughtering allowed. (No word on whether you can bury the ones that expire naturally behind the birdbath a la Snowball or Fido.)

Seriously, though, it’s a great idea. As Dan Brown, a Fort Collins resident who’s been pushing for the city zoning change, points out, backyard chickens are great for eating up unwanted bugs, pesky weeds and other stuff that’s not easily composted. I also have to agree with his comment to following the council’s 5-to-1 OK:

“I also think it’s an important part of teaching your children that food doesn’t come from a box in the store,” Brown said.

Wish my little community here in Northwest Florida would do the same. Fresh omelets, anyone?

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