The ability to raise a few hens for eggs increases individuals access to healthy sustainable food. It's also great to have a pet that contributes by not only laying eggs, but eating bugs and weeds in the garden and keeping the grass trimmed in the yard. An egg, should be fresh! The city ordinances only allow for a total of 4 pets, and 4 chickens are less of a potential nuisance than a single dog or cat. The city has already made pet exceptions for Muscovy Ducks and Pot Bellied Pigs. Ducks naturally carry the avian flu and Pot Bellied Pigs can get to 250 pounds. Surely 4 hens should be allowed if dogs, cats, ducks and pigs are.
Chickens are proven to be waste reducers and in Europe one city even distributed them to citizens as a waste reduction program: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8539877.stm
Many Fresno families with small children find themselves between a rock and a hard place due to black widow spiders. A single bite can be fatal to a small child, but the pesticides to kill them are almost just as dangerous. Chickens have no issues with eating black widows along with a multitude of other pests like termites, fleas, ticks etc... and are even known to eat mice and small snakes!
Central California Local Urban Chicken Keepers (CCLUCK) encourages it's members to garden in their backyards in order to prepare them for a time when the city finally approves of chickens and changes the pet ordinance to allow "Hens as Pets", as chickens are much happier when they have something to keep them occupied, like eating bugs, grubs, weeds and seeds.
Chickens can assist the elderly and mobility challenged individuals by clearing plots for garden beds. They will take a small area they are confined in, down to the ground, dig it up and deposit their nutrient rich poop to fertilize the soil. Those same little work horse chickens can then be placed back into that plot at the end of the harvest season to take the plants back down to the ground and again enrich the soil with their droppings. Chickens are even able to rid an area of crab grass! Because they will continually eat the green sprouts the complex root system of crab grass puts out energy without getting any back and thus is eliminated. Where as covering crab grass only puts the root system to sleep until it can break through the ground cover to rein havoc again.
It should be every person's right to raise their own food in their backyard and chickens could be a vital part of making that possible...