Are your – or your neighbor’s – backyard chickens causing an unexpected problem? Hint: it’s not noise or smell

Backyard chickens in St. George, Utah, June 8, 2017 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

FEATURE – Several cities along the Wasatch Front have recently passed ordinances allowing urban residents to raise backyard chickens, something that is already permitted in many Southern Utah cities, including St. George. The St. George News reports.

Read more: City … amends backyard chicken ordinance

However, in a story by the Associated Press last December, a link was shown between an explosion in the rat population in Eugene, Oregon, and the growth in backyard chicken ranching.

Residents there reported seeing more rats, and in areas where they haven’t been before. Pest control companies in the area also reported a brisk spike in business. However, surprisingly, over this same time period, there were no increased reports of infectious diseases that can be traced to rats, including bubonic plague, hantavirus, leptosporosis and rat-bite fever.

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