Cathy Taibbi

Reverend interviews chickens in Brentwood, California in preparation for their trial.

The real 'Trial of the Century' in Brentwood, California is for the birds!

At a time when more and more people across urban America are returning to the comforting -- and frugal – practice of keeping egg-laying hens,  Brentwood, California’s true ‘Trial of the century’ is taking place – and on trial are two hens.

This is not a hoax. 

Reports state that when Kimberly Kennedy acquired a pair of gentle, egg-laying hens, an angry neighbor, evidently horrified by the prospect of having avian livestock living next-door, decided to go to the city ouncil about them. 

According to interviewer and defender Reverend Austin Miles, the woman is  “accusing them of smelling bad, spreading bird flu, and pooping in her yard (located next door behind a high fence). Not only that, the neighbor charges, the eggs they lay will attract wild animals which could endanger her cat. Serious charges indeed.

"This has the hens setting on the edge of their nests as they approach the final hearing of their fate at the Brentwood City Council Meeting this Tuesday, January 26th. A big crowd is expected.” So says journalist and Reverend, Austin Miles in his MilesTones post, “Exclusive Interview With Famous Chickens And Their Keeper.” 

Not only is this grumpy neighbor accusing the owner of foul play, she is accusing the chickens! Hence the landmark interview with the hens in question.

As delightful as the interview is, it also points to what will be an increasingly visible question: should chicken-keeping be more widely permitted within city limits? 

As city-dwellers, we're more and more removed from nature, and we lose touch with our farming heritage. It’s understandable that some may truly fear that a couple hens may pose a serious health risk.

However, chickens are, in truth, a very benign and comforting hobby.  The fresh eggs are healthful food and the hens will hunt insect pests and provide organic, Earth-friendly fertilizer by way of their droppings.

More and more city ordinances are permitting hens (but not roosters, which aren't needed for the production of the infertile eggs we love to eat) and issuing permits to build coops. 

Keeping chickens is actually a very noble and civil pastime.  They are beautiful.  There are treasured vintage breeds to keep if you care about history and heirloom varieties of farm stock, as well as highly ornamental varieties.  Chickens are reassuring and friendly and good for both the garden and the soul, plus the eggs are one of the healthiest, most complete foods known on the planet.

Keeping hens could be a real boon not just to the environment in your city, but to your wallet.  Anyone old enough to remember the thrill and satisfaction of collecting still-warm eggs for breakfast will know this.

As the date  for the Trial of the Century moves closer, it appears hen-keeping is gaining more support. 

Interested in keeping hens? You can check the current laws in your city by clicking here.  

To learn more about how to raise your own hens, click here.

Here's to more city chickens!


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