The city is talking of no more than four hens, no roosters, no butchering and no sales. Four hens probably could yield an average of two eggs a day. No butchering means granny hens doing nothing but eating. It also seems unlikely there are many mommies left in the city who can teach their children how to wring a hen’s neck, gut it, remove feathers and so forth.
For educational purposes, and as cuddly pets, keeping less than a handful of hens around probably has some value if the commissioners are sure to add this provision: No calls to Animal Control about chickens allowed under any circumstances.
If some get loose, reproduction is no problem unless cock fighting is a problem. Besides, the stray neighborhood dogs and cats will make a quick meal of them.
Raisers of such “flocks” wanting government protection from predators is another matter. Among known predators of poultry — even when penned — commonly found in Rome are: coyotes, foxes, raccoons, weasels, rats, birds of prey, opossums and snakes. Raccoons, by the way, are really good at reaching through chicken wire and pulling a hen’s head or leg off.
Want to grow veggies or chickens? Then drought, insects and hungry wild critters are your problem, not that of the taxpayers. Just as with the real farmers.