Egg Scare Boosts Home Grown Version

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010  |  Updated 12:15 PM PDT
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Egg Scare Boosts Home Grown Version

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A national recall has affected at least 43 people in Los Angeles County.

What do you do when your eggs might kill you? Get some better eggs.

With the massive egg recall underway, an increasing number of Bay Area residents are turning to backyard chickens as a source of yolks. And, when the time comes, meat.

They're known as "the gateway drug of urban agriculture." Easy to care for, cheap to feed, and infinitely fresher than eggs at the supermarket, local chickens are enjoying somewhat of a boom in recent years. California laws regarding the treatment of livestock are strict, but not strict enough to prevent the salmonella outbreak that affected 2.3 million eggs from Wright Country Egg last month.

The animals are fairly unobtrusive to neighbors, so you might have some living next door and never even know it. As long as their habitat is kept clean, they don't smell and don't spread disease. The city limits owners to four animals, and they must be kept a certain distance from the entrance to dwellings. Roosters can be a bit more problematic, being both aggressive and noisy, but the city prohibits owning live male chickens.

Looking to pick up one of your own? Consult BackyardChickens.com. You can also buy live chickens at the farmer's market at Civic Center, but that's not recommended: those animals are unlikely to be socialized, and probably won't enjoy your company.

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