Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
News >  Column

The Slice: If city chickens farms work well, why not urban cattle ranching?

UPDATED: Fri., May 12, 2017

Sandra Blackwell's chickens roam through her backyard in Spokane on Friday, March 24, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Sandra Blackwell's chickens roam through her backyard in Spokane on Friday, March 24, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

I have been living next door to chickens for some time now, and thought I should file a report.

(It occurs to me that more and more Spokane residents might soon find themselves residing next to farm animals and perhaps my experience could offer an insight or two.)

So … it has gone well. The birds are good neighbors. They only make noise when they have something to say. And I usually find myself agreeing with them.

They don’t have loud parties. They don’t work on engines at 11 p.m. They don’t fire up a motorcycle or chattering diesel pickup at 5 a.m. on a weekend morning.

And they have never once come over and asked to borrow money.

Plus, the occasional gift eggs are nice.

So all this makes me wonder. If getting along with neighbor chickens is a breeze, how would it go if other farm animals resided in the city?

Let’s consider.

Cattle: Manure would be an issue. I’ve never lived next to a livestock feed lot, but I suspect it would have limited charm.

The ever-present danger of a stampede is another concern. That could be bad. Have you ever seen “Red River”?

And, of course, I would always be wondering if that truck in my neighbor’s driveway belonged to a rustler.

Lastly, I’m not sure how many Spokane backyards are large enough to qualify as “free range.”

Goats: Don’t see a problem here. Ever watched baby goats run and jump? Only downside might be showing up late for work because you spent so much time watching them frolic.

Sheep: If there’s a smart border collie in charge, I don’t see why the sheep couldn’t mow all the lawns in the neighborhood. A large-scale shearing operation could play havoc with my allergies. But I suppose we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

Pigs: Here’s the thing. Pigs are smart. So it wouldn’t do to have them get bored.

What to do? Movie trivia. Every night. At least that’s the first thing that comes to mind. You might have your own ideas.

Maybe none of this will come to pass. But I expect my other next-door neighbor’s cat will be watching with interest.

Today’s Slice question: In Spokane, as Mother’s Day approaches, to what extent do childless women feel judged?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Personal helicopters, like the ones we were promised by futurists more than 50 years ago, just might be the answer to Spokane’s persistent problems with crumbling roads.