I have been getting more and more interested in raising urban chickens. The lovely people at The Phoenix Permaculture Guild have a great deal of expertise with this, as does Greg Peterson of The Urban Farm. There are frequent classes hosted by The Permaculture Guild held at the Phoenix downtown farmers market on Saturday mornings as well, and these have often included raising urban chickens. I unfortunately have not had a chance to attend one yet, but hope to soon.
Chickens are great at preparing the earth for cultivation because they scratch, and peck, and poop, and this makes for great veggie beds. They also consume kitchen scraps that may otherwise get wasted, and of course produce eggs.
It seems that one can keep chickens here in Phoenix as long as they are within a coup or other enclosed area, and are not roosters which have a tendency to be noisy. I have to say it makes me smile a little to think of feathered lovelies in our back yard in our oh so suburban neighbourhood.
I am not sure how it would work for us with the dogs because apparently stressed birds don't lay. I am quite sure my lovely Lilly would stress them out even if they were enclosed because she even tries to chase birds that are flying by overhead! It may be that this is yet another plan that needs to wait until we move to somewhere with a bigger space, but I will continue to read and learn.