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Backyard Chickens45:34
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A sign hanging off the side of Barbara Palermo's chicken coop, in Salem, Ore., on Aug. 21, 2009. Palermo has led the local fight for the right to raise chickens in her backyard. (AP)
A sign hanging off the side of Barbara Palermo's chicken coop, in Salem, Ore., on Aug. 21, 2009. Palermo has led the local fight for the right to raise chickens in her backyard. (AP)

Can you hear the chickens clucking around your neighborhood, your block? Are they in your own backyard?
Raising backyard chickens has grown into a movement. But one by one, cities and towns are debating the right to raise chickens in the neighborhood — whether chickens are too loud, too smelly, or just too farm-like to live in urban and suburban backyards.
The New Yorker's Susan Orlean opted to leave Manhattan for upstate New York, and gave chicken-raising a try. Now she’s hooked — and crowing about the joys of chickens.
This hour, On Point: Love 'em or hate 'em — backyard chickens.
You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Joining us from Pine Plains, N.Y., is Susan Orlean, staff writer for The New Yorker. Her essay “The It Bird: The return of the bark-yard chicken” appeared in the September 28th issue. She owns seven chickens. She's the author of several books, including "The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession."

From Eau Claire, Wisc., we're joined by Elaine Belanger, editor of Backyard Poultry, a bimonthly magazine with 50,000 subscribers published in north-central Wisconsin. She owns 23 chickens.

And from Iowa City, Iowa, we're joined by Reginia Bailey, mayor of Iowa City. Before becoming mayor she served for six years on Iowa City’s council. She has opposed efforts to allow backyard chickens in Iowa City.

This program aired on September 30, 2009.

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