New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean–she of Orchid Thief fame–is moving to Los Angeles for the next several months. Perhaps a sign of LA’s growing legitimacy among Northeasterly lit types, Orlean seems to have received none of the typical what-will you-do-about-the- food-lack-of-culture-horrible-architecture-traffic queries. Instead, her friends and readers are worried about her chickens.
It is legal to have them in Los Angeles, as long as they’re a polite distance from your neighbors; and there’s a lively L.A. chicken scene already in place (I already have my Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts T-shirt, courtesy of one of the members.) But our backyard in California is small. Moreover, there are zillions of coyotes and bobcats hanging out in the neighborhood, and they are not the scrawny East Coast models: like everyone in Los Angeles, the coyotes I’ve seen there look like they work out a lot with personal trainers. The idea of putting a coyote magnet in the backyard, someplace where the coyotes can bench-press four hundred pounds, is terrifying. At least for the moment, the chickens will stay here.