The current permitting process for backyard chickens makes it nearly impossible to legally and responsibly have a backyard flock. The City's permitting process should more easily allow a small number of backyard hens for the following reasons:
-- Chickens produce a rich fertilizer by-product, high in nitrogen, eliminating the need for petrochemical fertilizers.
-- Chickens eat insects, including ticks, reducing our backyard pest population, and allowing for reduced use of pesticides.
-- Backyard hens provide an educational opportunity to teach children where our food comes from and demonstrate responsible pet ownership.
-- Fresh, naturally raised eggs have an improved nutrient profile compared to conventional eggs.
-- Chickens eat table scraps, reducing municipal solid waste.
-- A properly cleaned and maintained chicken coop poses no sanitation risks.
By amending the permitting process to allow residents to keep a limited number of hens in residential zones, the City of Boston will encourage stewardship of the environment and food production on a household scale, in line with the City's goals for environmental sustainability and support of local food.