Amazon delivery staff in dognapping caught thanks to neighbours Snowball, the dancing cockatoo, just wants to shake a tail feather Mid-century modern architecture. Japanese shou sugi ban wood exteriors. Wall-to-wall block-print wallpaper. Shabby chic crystal chandeliers. These aren’t features in a Los Angeles home, but the kind of amenities in some of the US city’s more elaborate chicken coops. In a town obsessed with design and indoor-outdoor living, it makes sense that pet owners want to keep their chickens in high-style comfort. In addition to giving them a chance to personalise their living spaces, urban homesteading offers a taste of pastoral life that’s elusive in a city of over four million. As backyard fowl continue to make news in California after recent cases of Newcastle disease, it’s worth noting that tending chickens can be traumatic. Free-ranging can be deadly. Coyotes, raccoons, hawks and mountain lions will prey on hens. And extreme heat can overwhelm them because chickens don’t sweat. Something as simple as an avocado can be fatal to chickens too. So why do urban homesteaders endure heartache, illness and loss? Because chickens are like any other pet: They make folks happy. “It’s extraordinary to have chickens and fresh […]

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