CHICKEN TRACTOR GALLERY
HEN HOUSE of the MONTH
THE SCOOP ON POOP
Motivational articles that I have been collecting on the topic of keeping chickens in the city...
"Dear KS...I sent your site to a friend that has been wanting chickens also. I can't wait to build my first chicken tractor!! Such an informative site for new 'chicken people.' You are the Martha Stewart of chickens!" ----G.D., Fort Madison, Iowa
Raising chickens in Newport News may run afoul of the law . . . . . By Joe Lawlor, . . . . email@example.com . . . . . 7:22 p.m. EDT, September 21, 2013 . . . . . NEWPORT NEWS — Michael Morris picked up his brown-feathered chicken, Gladys, and petted her like a cat or dog. . . . . . . "These are my pets," said Morris, who feeds the chickens apples and grapes. "I enjoy watching them interact. They all have different personalities. They're not very bright, though." . . . . . . . . Morris, who this spring acquired five hens and one rooster from a farm in York County, said Wednesday he was upset recently to see a city complaint notice on his door last week. He lives in the historic Huntington Heights neighborhood in Newport News, and owning chickens runs afoul of a city ordinance that disallows farm animals. Hampton has a similar ordinance. . . . . . . "This is not the Soviet Union," Morris said. "Nobody should be able to say what we can and can't do." . . . . . Newport News does not permit its residents to raise poultry unless there's an area on the property that's more than 175 feet from a neighbor's house. Morris' property doesn't meet the threshold. . . . . . Morris said that he decided to raise chickens because he was interested in fresh eggs and raising the chickens as pets. His chickens haven't yet produced eggs. . . . . . Morris' chickens, if he's allowed to keep them, will be allowed to die of old age. . . . . . Morris keeps the chickens in a hand-built coop, and when he lets them out, they stay in a fenced-in area of his back yard. His rooster usually crows between 8 and 9 a.m. every morning, he said. . . . . Atiya Pope, animal services director for Newport News, said that the law doesn't permit chickens for residents who live within 175 feet of their neighbors. She said roosters, especially, can be too loud. . . . . . However, Pope said that the city inspector who visited Morris' house last week found that the coop was "immaculate." . . . . . ."He has a great set-up for the chickens. It was ideal conditions," Pope said. "As long as we don't get continuous complaints, we don't enforce (animal laws) too heavily. What we're most concerned about is sanitation." . . . . Pope said the city's animal control laws are outdated — some of them are 50 years old — and she would like to see the laws revamped. . . . . . Katy Skinner, who operates the http://www.thecitychicken.com website that advises people about how to raise chickens in an urban environment, said in an email response to questions that Newport News' laws appear to be more stringent than what is typical. . . . . ."Many towns and cities I've noticed are going for a three-hen rule. That means, you can be living on any size lot, but you can only keep up to three hens, and roosters are not allowed. In my opinion, this is a nice urban compromise," Skinner wrote. . . . . She has compiled a state-by-state list of chicken laws in various cities. . . . . . Morris said he just wants to keep a few chickens, and he's not attempting to start a city farm. . . . . "If I'm allowed to keep the chickens, I promise I won't get a cow or a goat," Morris said, laughing. . . . .Copyright 2013, Newport News, Va., Daily Press.
|Article from: Chickens Magazine, Spring
2013 issue, volume 2, no. 1 / chickensmagazine.com
. . . . . . . After a neighbor turned in Barbara Palermo to the city authorities
for owning four illegal hens, the chicken keeper from Salem, Oregon decided
to investigate how to make her pets legal in her city. . . . . .
. . Palermo discovered that although hens were a no-no, it was perfectly
legal to own pot-bellied pigs of up to 100 pounds. . . . . . . . “We
can have a potbelly pig, this completely useless animal,
but I can't
have my 3-pound little hen who gives me beautiful eggs and is so entertaining?!”
Palermo fumed. . . . . . . . It just didn’t make sense. . . . . . . . When
she asked her city councilor to help her out, she was shut down. . . .
. . . . So, she decided to do some research herself. . . . . . . . “I went
online and found out that there was an urban chicken movement," she recalls.
. . . . . . . "And chickens were legal almost everywhere and that people
where chickens weren't legal were fighting to get them legal. . . . . .
. . There were so many other people across the country in large cities,
small cities and everywhere in between, wanting what I wanted. . . . .
. . . I realized that my request wasn't unreasonable”. . . . . .
. Responses to a message she posted on a chickens website brought her three
new supporters in Salem who said they'd help her. . . . . . . . Organizing
quickly, 70 members of their new
group Chickens In The Yard (aka CITY) attended the February 23, 2009
council meeting asking for the law to be changed. . . . . . . . For
eight months, the issue was discussed, debated and eventually moved around
a few city departments before the council voted against the measure in
October 2009. . . . . . . . CITY members continued their fight. . . . . . . . They attended more than 16 city council meetings, gained
support of more than half of the city's neighborhood organizations and
even produced a video called The Chicken Revolution. . . . . . .
. Their efforts paid off. . . . . . . . On September 27, 2010,
the council voted 7 to 2 to allow backyard hens. . . . . . . . The
new law allows residents to keep three backyard hens and took effect January
1, 2011. . . . . . . . “Chickens are not just pets," Palermo says. . .
. . . . . “They play such an important role in my whole backyard ecosystem.
. . . . . . . They’re tied to the compost and the gardening and the
greenhouse and all of it, and they give me food that I can trust and
enjoy.” . . . . . Two of Palermo’s original hens died during
her extended fight with city hall. . . . . . . Her two remaining birds
are back in their coop, and she plans to add new chicks this spring after
the group hosts its first Chick Day on April 2, 2011. . . .
. . . . CITY organizers have planned several events for the spring including
poultry health classes, chicken-raising seminars and a chicken coup tour
June 19. 2011. . . . . . Palermo has fielded calls from across the United
States and is eager to help others who want to follow in her footsteps.
. . . . . . . In January 2011, she was scheduled to speak at a city council
meeting in Keizer, Oregon. . . . . . . “That normally would have terrified
me in the past, but now that I’ve done all of these things that I’ve done,
I just look forward to it, actually,” she says. . . . . . . . “I can’t
wait to help other people get what we finally got.” . . . . . . Her close
friend, and CITY colleague, Nannette Martin, says Palermo deserves to be
called “the patron saint of chickens.” . . . . . .“I’ve told Barbara our
difficult chicken fight happened for a reason,” Martin says. . . . . .
. . “I said, if it had been easy, you would not have been able to offer
this help to other people.” * * * * * *
* * * * * * Chickens In The Yard (CITY)
founder Barbara Palermo offers these tips for backyard chicken supporters
looking for legality: 1) If you
can't get on the clty council meeting agenda, show up for your municipality's
call to the public. A sympathetic councilor encouraged Palermo’s
group to organize and show up for this open spot on the agenda. "You
have three minutes. . Make it good and do your thing," she told Palermo.
Build alliances with neighborhood groups. CITY members made
presentations for each neighborhood group in Salem, and I2 of I9 associations
gave their support for backyard chickens. 3)
Visit www.saIemchickens.com for reports, letters of support from city officials
regarding backyard chickens, research regarding hens and many other helpful
documents. 4) Expect questions about
noise, odor and health concerns. Be prepared with well-researched
|From: Backyard Poultry Magazine,
Volume 4, Number 6, January 2013. . . .. Written
by Frank Hyman . . . .http://www.cafepress.com/durhamhens . . . . . . .
. . . . .In 30 years as a political activist I’ve won 4 races as a campaign
manager, served on a city council, helped start political organizations,
been president of a neighborhood association and worked on issues like
affordable housing, living wage and recycling. But I never once imagined
I would be working to change the laws to allow people to have backyard
chickens. . . . . . .
. . . . . .But my wife Chris, who thinks of hens as “pets with benefits”—and
many of our friends--wanted backyard chickens and our city—Durham, NC--
didn’t allow it. So, since I try to be a good husband, I threw my lot in
with a group that Chris and others had named HENS; meaning Healthy Eggs
in Neighborhoods Soon. . . . . . . . . . . . .Well the good news
is that we have Healthy Eggs in Neighborhoods Now, but it didn’t come easily
or quickly. And more than once our success was in doubt. At the start only
2 of the 7 council members were strong advocates and the others were either
uncertain or inclined to be opposed. But in the end, after a year of
steady—and mostly enjoyable—work, we won with a unanimous vote.
. . . . . . . . . . . .If you want to make backyard hens legal in your
town, the most succinct advice I have is to: . . . . . .Get Organized .
. . . . .Get Allies . . . . . .Don’t Give Up . . . . . .So here’s a
brief tale of how we did just that. . . . . . . . . . . . .Getting
Organized . . . . . . . . . . . .Organizational meetings . . . . . .Through
word-of-mouth and email messages, we started out with 5-10 people with
varying levels of knowledge about hens. We held meetings once or twice
a month for an hour or so during the course of a campaign that lasted most
of a year (so be patient). To keep meetings productive and well-attended,
it was important to stay focused on only 4 things: 1) short reports on
everyone’s work since the last meeting, 2) deciding what work needed to
happen and 3) who would do it before our next meeting and 4) a tiny bit
of socializing and noshing to keep things fun. . . . . .
. . . . . . .Petitions . . . . . .We went to events like music festivals
and set up a tables so we could hand out brochures and get signatures
on our petition asking the city council to allow hens. Some places
that might seen friendly to your cause—like farmer’s markets—may have rules
against that kind of activity, so be sure to ask for permission.
. . . . . . . . . . . .No matter how many names are on a petition though,
elected officials will not necessarily be persuaded because they
figure that there are more people in your city who did not sign. Sad, but
true. Showing up with little more than a petition for your cause is
a common way to lose. (We watched it happen in a city near us during
our campaign. ) You still want to share the petition with officials, but
the real value of the petition is to help your group get organized and
acquire allies. When people signed our petition, many included their
email addresses. This gave us a list of hundreds of people we could alert
about our meetings and pubic hearings in front of elected officials.
Twenty live bodies at a hearing are more valuable than 2000 dry signatures
on a piece of paper. But the petition helps you get those live bodies.
. . . . . . . . . . . .And when people do sign, it gives your people a
good ego boost, which is important in a long civic campaign. . .
. . . . . . Research . . . . . .Part of getting organized
is making sure that your team knows more about this issue than the opponents
or the elected officials. Otherwise you can’t respond to questions or be
persuasive. The good news is you can split this research work amongst yourselves;
“many hands make light work”. . . . . . . . . . . . .One of the jobs
we divvied up was calling the animal control officers and public health
directors of the cities in NC that already allowed chickens to ask them:
1) what concerns they had, 2) how many and 3) what kind of complaints
they had from citizens. Across the board the public health directors
had no problems (especially no concerns about Avian flu) and the animal
control staffs all recalled on average about 2-3 complaints per month about
noise or loose hens (compared to thousands of complaints a month about
dogs). . . . . . . . . . . . .Quoting these people in our brochures
and at public hearings was very effective in getting citizens, the press,
city staff and city council members to get off the fence and support our
cause. We sounded knowledgeable and trustworthy. When opponents in the
press or at hearings argued against hens, they sounded uninformed and irrational
by comparison. . . . . . .
. . . . . .Our Message . . . . . .As part of getting organized we crafted
some simple messages and avoided others. We didn’t want roosters, so we
always emphasized first that we were against having roosters and only wanted
hens. We even corrected our allies who used the word ‘chickens’ to say
that we only wanted ‘hens’. We also insisted that hen advocates not threaten
elected officials with defeat at the polls if they didn’t agree with us.
Face it, hens are not going to be a make it or break it issue at election
time. Elected officials know it and you should too. Don’t make threats.
. . . . . . . . . . . .Part of our message was to create a map of NC,
where each of the major cities that allowed hens was marked with the image
of a nest with eggs in it. Durham, for not allowing hens, was represented
by an empty nest with no eggs. How sad! . . . . . . . . . . . .We
also created a simple brochure with the 1) bullet points about the virtues
of backyard hens, 2) a debunking of some of the concerns and complaints
and 3) our contact info and 4) a plug for our beautiful T shirts with
our motto: “raise hens, gather eggs, eat local.” . . . . . . . . . . .
.Getting Allies . . . . . . . . . . . .Government Staff . . . . . .When
elected officials are preparing to make a decision, they want to know where
their staff people stand on the issue. They count on these peoples’ professional
judgment. . . . . . . . . . . . .When it comes time to get a campaign
off the ground, you want to have a good relationship with the staff
people, especially the planning director, the city attorney and the
city manager. Fortunately for us, a person on the staff of the planning
dept. was a strong ally from the beginning. Sometimes the attorney’s office
or another department will address an ordinance change—finding out who
is best to talk to is all part of doing your research. If you’re not certain,
ask the city or county manager, who on their staff would be handling such
an ordinance and what the procedure would be. By respecting their opinion
and their time, one of your best allies will be the staff people who would
be developing this ordinance and enforcing it. . . . . . . . . .
. . .We also met with our local animal control office to make sure
they felt like they already had the resources to handle the few calls that
allowing hens might entail. One of the easiest ways to make an unnecessary
enemy in a civic campaign like this, is to make the mistake of ignoring
the very staff people who’s work will be effected by this change. .
. . . . . . . . . . .The Press . . . . . .We made a point of keeping
local reporters and bloggers aware of what we were doing. This topic
has a lot of human interest (and opportunities for puns and photos) so
some of them will be inclined to help you get the word out and debunk some
of the false notions about hens (e.g. noise, smell, disease, etc.).
. . . . . . . . . . . .Other Civic Groups . . . . . .Many of our members
went to their neighborhood associations and were able to get votes of support
from them. This helped us turn out more people at public hearings and to
show the elected officials that most reasonable people supported backyard
hens when they had the facts. . . . . . . . . . . . .Elected Officials
. . . . . .I include elected officials as potential allies, because
it’s important not to succumb to the notion that they are the enemy.
Even if they say they are opposed, many of them can be persuaded if they
are given the facts and are exposed to the broad support that your work
can engender. . . . . . . . . . . . .To get an elected official on
board as an ally, it is important to get a face-to face meeting between
them and a handful of your members. Email is dandy, but it’s no
substitute for a real meeting, so keep calling until they give you
a date for a 30 min. meeting. As elected officials they work for the public
and the reasonable ones will meet with you. When you do meet with them,
specifically ask them “What are your concerns about allowing backyard hens?”
and “What information would help you feel comfortable supporting backyard
hens?” or words to that effect. When they answer these questions, they
will be giving you a roadmap that shows you how to get a majority of them
to support you. . . . . . . .
. . . . .Some of our elected officials were concerned about Avian flu,
so we lined up the local health dept. to come to public hearings to reassure
them. Others were concerned about giving neighbors a chance to have
their objections heard, so the final ordinance includes a process for that,
though it’s very unlikely that an objection would be factual enough to
block a citizen from having hens. . . . . . . . . . . . .Don’t Give
Up . . . . . . . . . . . .Public Hearings . . . . . .In the beginning many
of us thought we would just go in front of the council, explain how great
backyard hens were and they would give us the go-ahead. But before it even
got to the city council, we had to go before 2 different planning
committees for a votes that were a couple of months apart. We had
already lined up support from other organizations and had the support of
the staff, but we also made sure to ask members of these committees
their concerns. Some opponents objected to hens because they had been pecked
by roosters as children. Both recommended in favor of our request.
Each was a victory but not the end. I worried that some advocates might
drop out as the process dragged on. It’s better to think of time as an
ally rather than an enemy. . . . . . .But the pathway to success
was specific and we continually had new people with fresh energyand
ideas joining our cause. . . . . . . . . . . . .Brought kids,
which had a big impact on some. . . . . . . . . . . . .To
get a final vote from the city council we had to attend a half-dozen ‘work
sessions” and public hearings before the council as opponents brought
up their objections—diseases, noise, smell, and various ones that were
kind of silly to us—that Durham was ‘urban’ and hens should be in rural
areas, that roosters had pecked at someone’s legs when they were young,
etc.—but we treated these objections and the people raising them with
respect. After all, these same people might be the allies we need on
a future issue. . . . . . . . . . . . .But by persevering and getting
a face-to-face meeting with each council member and by taking their
concerns seriously and working to address each one, we went from a situation
where even our allies on staff thought we might lose to eventually getting
unanimous 7-0 vote from the council.
. . . . . . By Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times . . . . . . . . San Marino considers rule to allow residents to keep
chickens . . . . May 21, 2014 . . . . . A San Marino resident
who grows much of her own food wants to add eggs to the things she can
permanently cross off her grocery list. The city is considering it. . .
. . . Pam King wants to keep chickens in her San Marino backyard. . . . .
. . Pam King of San Marino buys lots of organic chicken manure
for her garden, but if she could keep chickens, she'd have manure -- and
eggs -- on site. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pam King's San Marino
home has solar panels, a drought-resistant yard and an urban farm. Now
she'd like some chickens to go with it. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . The city known as the wealthiest, quietest suburban
enclave in the San Gabriel Valley doesn't allow residents to keep farm
animals, but that may soon change. This month King asked the San Marino
City Council to allow chickens on residential properties, and council members
ordered a staff report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. If San Marino goes to the birds, it would join Pasadena, South Pasadena
and Flintridge, which allow residents to keep fowl under
strict guidelines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In
Pasadena the maximum number of chickens on a property is 10, and they cannot
be kept within 50 feet of a property line. The city doesn't allow roosters
more than four months old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . South Pasadena residents have higher chicken limits, but if they
have more than a dozen, the chickens must be kept at least 200 feet from
the neighbors. Residents with fewer than a dozen chickens need only
keep them 15 feet or more from the property line and 50 feet or more from
a dwelling other than the resident's home. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . In La Cada most residences are limited to
three chickens, though people with larger lots can have more if they house
the fowl appropriately. Roosters more than two months old are prohibited.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . At the San Marino City
Council's direction, staffers looking into a law will pay particular attention
to coop size and location, the number of chickens to allow, discouraging
commercial gain and possibly requiring a permit. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . King said she buys a lot of organic chicken manure
for her garden and hopes to host up to six chickens in order to get a dozen
eggs a week. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . "I think it's a positive step to grow my own food, not
rely on trucks and shipping from all over the world and make sure the
stuff we're eating at this house is pretty organic," she said. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . King is among a growing number
of city people who want a slice of farm life in their backyards. Websites
including urbanchickens.org, thecitychicken.com
and madcitychickens.com have sprung up to offer newbies advice on how to
keep their fowl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hall founded Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts in
August 2009 after
she began keeping chickens at her Silver Lake home. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . The group now touts 800 members who give
each other advice online and meet to discuss urban farming. . . . . . .
. .. . . . . . . . Hall said there is spreading interest
in creating legislation to allow urbanites to keep hens and roosters and
to update old laws from the 1940s and '50s. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "They're small flocks," she said. "People aren't
looking for a commercial egg-laying operation. A lot of cities realize
this and are making accommodations." .
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . Hall said a common mistake among chicken owners is
failure to predator-proof their coops. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . "Here in the city, we have a lot more wildlife than we
see during the day," she warned. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . Ron Kean, a poultry advisor for madcitychickens.com in
Wis., said members of the group considered themselves the chicken
until pushing the city to legalize urban chicken ownership in 2005. . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kean said those who think
they will be able to reduce their grocery budget are in for a surprise.
"I have not talked to anybody who did this who said it saved them money,"
Kean said. Still, he added, "I would encourage it." . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . Hall noted that a common question is what
to do with a chicken too old to produce eggs. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . "Do you keep it as a pet? Do you run a chicken retirement
home?" Hall, who has six chickens, asked. "It's important not to jump into
it too fast." . . . .. . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
|From: September 2013 issue... ...EnergyTimes.com
. . Earth Matters . . . . . Lots of Cluck . .. . .Yielding fresh eggs and
pest control, chicken coops roost in backyards. .. . . . .Eric Schneider
. .. .. Throughout major cities across the US, it’s quite common to find
dogs and cats. Increasingly, though, these metropolitan pets are getting
unexpected neighbors down the street—chickens are roosting in more and
more urban backyards. . . . . . . . .“I like chickens because they
are the easiest of pets next to a goldfish; there aren't many downsides
to them,” says Katy Skinner, who started the online site www.TheCityChicken.com
about 12 years ago and raised chickens in Portland, Oregon, before
relocating to Yacolt, Washington. She keeps six hens, some of which have
colorful breed names such as Blue Wyandotte and Rhode Island White. . .
. . . . . .Residing just outside Boston in Somerville, Massachusetts, Janet
Montgomery keeps three hens in her backyard, all Red Stars, a hybrid breed
known for excellent egg production and cold hardiness. She notes that the
birds require only 10 to 15 minutes of daily care and another 10 minutes
every few days for coop cleaning. “They have sweet, quirky personalities
and are a riot to watch as they scratch around the yard,” Montgomery says.
.Of course, people don’t seek out these feathered friends for cuddly companionship.
The primary incentive for raising chickens is what they literally bring
to the table—fresh eggs. As anyone who has bought eggs from a farm or farmer’s
market knows, nothing compares to truly fresh eggs, which can be speckled,
have a blue or green hue and be of different sizes. According to the
USDA, eggs sold in grocery stores are still considered “fresh” up to 45
days after they were packed. And, as opposed to the pale-yellow yolks
of store-bought eggs, fresh eggs often have a deep-yellow/ orange yolk
and a much richer flavor. Studies have also shown that the eggs of chickens
not kept on factory farms may be higher in vitamins and omega-3 fats and
lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. . . . . . . . .Owen Taylor is the
training and urban livestock coordinator at Just Food (www.justfood.org)
in New York City, which focuses on sustainable urban agriculture. Just
Food runs the City Chicken Project, which teaches gardeners how to raise
chickens. . . . . . . . .“Backyard chickens live healthier lives—they can
scratch in the soil for critters and greenery, and they can eat your food
scraps,” Taylor says. “This gives them a more balanced diet and translates
into a better-tasting, healthier egg. This also means that they get exercise
and are kept entertained. . . . . . . . .Chickens in cages are prone
to disease and cannibalism, which is why factory-farmed chickens are given
more antibiotics and have their beaks cut. Eggs from your backyard flock
come from happy, healthy hens and are better for you.” There is no clear
consensus about chicken lifespans, but hens that are given proper care
can live more than 10 years, while the lives of factory-farmed chickens
are often measured in weeks, not years. . .
. . .Raising chickens is part of the local food movement. “I like the satisfaction
of food coming from our backyard instead of the grocery store,” says Montgomery.
. . . . . .Feathered Pest Control . . . . . . . .Hens eat insects
that harm plants, and their droppings are highly beneficial. “Chicken
poop enriches our compost, so our garden is super-productive,” Montgomery
says. “If you keep chickens, you use a lot fewer fossil fuels to make your
omelet,” Taylor adds. And those scraps that chickens consume represent
waste that never makes it to the landfill. . . . . . . . .Like all pets
and livestock, chickens need shelter. Coops can vary widely in size and
design, but always feature an enclosed or semi-enclosed area for nesting
and a larger run fittingly covered by chicken wire. Montgomery says her
coop is fairly small, at about 4’ x 3’ x 5’. She also lets the hens run
loose in her fenced-in yard at times. . . . . . . . .A popular variation
on the coop is a “chicken
tractor,” which leaves the ground open for grazing and scratching.
The structure is commonly mounted on wheels or light enough to move. Its
mobility benefits the birds and the grass underneath them. . . . . . .
. .Cities all have their own regulations regarding chickens, but the seemingly
universal noise-abatement edict is “no roosters!” (Without roosters, hens
lay unfertilized eggs.) However, hens can sometimes be noisy, too,
particularly when they're alarmed or finished laying eggs. In many urban
areas, chickens are considered pets and allowed in numbers of three or
less. In New York City, “it is illegal for your chickens to make too much
noise, to smell too much or to attract flies and vermin,” Taylor says.
“So hens are not illegal; irresponsible chicken keepers are.” . . . . .
. . .The same general rules apply in Somerville, but Montgomery emphasizes
that anyone considering getting hens should check with the city first
to see if it's legal to keep them as pets. One effective way to preempt
possible conflicts: “Sharing eggs with the neighbors can help prevent complaints,”
says Montgomery. . . . . . . . .“Keeping chickens brings your food source
closer to home, and, in places where it is difficult to find fresh food,
this becomes very important,” says Taylor. To which Skinner adds, “I
promise keeping a few hens will be easier than keeping a dog, especially
after the initial learning curve and setup.” By raising
your own chickens, you are not only providing better lives for your hens
compared with their factory-farmed sisters but you are also improving your
|From the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
. . . . By Meredith Cohn . . . . email@example.com . . . . . June
28, 2013 . . . . . URL of article:
. . . . If you asked Josh Smith where breakfast comes from,
the Baltimore teen would likely say, "the girls." That would be Sugar and
Spice, his family's pet chickens. . . . .
.. . . . Josh's mother, Liz, got the girls by mail order in April and set
up a coop for them in the backyard of the family's Hamilton house, between
a beehive and rows of planted vegetables. Josh, 13, and his brother, Hooper,
7, delight in feeding the ginger-colored birds treats of worms and melon
and collecting the big, brown eggs that come two a day. . . . . .. . .
. "This is how it's supposed to be," Liz Smith said as she nestled and
stroked a softly clucking Sugar. "The eggs are really delicious. Though
I don't think I'll ever eat chicken again after having them as pets." .
. . . .. . . . . The Smiths join an increasing number of urban farmers
in Baltimore and around the nation who are growing their own food to save
money or to control what goes into it. Or they want to better connect with
their environment. Some people have chickens as pets, but many also want
the eggs or meat, or a lesson for the kids about the food chain.
. . . . ..
. . . . And though owning chickens in Baltimore is legal, many people are
nonetheless keeping mum, lest they ruffle their neighbors' feathers. That
has made keeping track of chickens harder for officials, who have rules
to address at least some of the potential health problems from waste, not
to mention noise and smell. State and city officials can't say for sure
how many birds live in Maryland's urban and suburban areas, though Baltimore
is working on new zoning laws to more thoughtfully account for urban agriculture
and, perhaps, draw some of the growers out of the closet, er, coop. . ..
. . State officials have registered 31 households in Baltimore and 626
in five surrounding counties - that includes chickens, pigeons and doves.
In Baltimore, a multiple-pet permit is required from the Bureau of Animal
Control, but only four residents have bothered. (Smith said the process
isn't too cumbersome, though it means visits from city officers, advertising
and an $80 fee.) . . . . .. . . . . . City health officials said they
rarely get complaints that might prompt them to look for scofflaws.
. . . . .. . . . . Meanwhile, the backyard chicken movement has become
a nationwide phenomenon that has given rise to Web sites, magazines
and even inspired a documentary, Mad City Chickens. . .. . . . . One
of the fowl Web sites,
lists 38 states and 145 cities that have laws addressing chickens.
Those that allow them include San Francisco, Atlanta, Minneapolis and New
York; most allow three to five birds in a coop not too close to neighbors,
which can be the most difficult issue in crowded urban areas. Washington,
D.C., does not allow chickens. . . .. . Baltimore allows four to be
kept in movable coops at least 25 feet from any residence. The chickens
must be fed, watered, sheltered and kept clean. No roosters, ducks, geese
or turkeys are allowed. . . . .
. .. . . . . Marilyn Bassford, Maryland's longtime poultry registration
coordinator, has seen the rise in interest. She counted at least 300 new
names on her list this year, bringing the total of registered flocks to
2,300 statewide. There's no way to know how many ignored or didn't know
about the registration law. . . . . . .. . . . Bassford points out that
chickens are big business in Maryland - particularly on the Eastern Shore,
where some of the industry's principal names operate - and the state wants
to keep tabs on backyard operations in case of a health emergency such
as an avian influenza outbreak. Most people say they keep backyard flocks
as a hobby or as pets, she said. . . . . . .. . . . "I think with each
generation, we get further away from the farm," she said. "Many people
used to be able to say they had a grandma or uncle with a farm but not
so much anymore. People want to get back to that a little." . . .. . .
. . Baltimore officials, recognizing that times have changed, are rewriting
the city's 38-year-old, 250-page book of zoning regulations. Currently,
the only reference to chickens (and rabbits) is for butchers. Laurie Feinberg,
in charge of the effort in the city's planning department, said officials
want clear and understandable rules when it comes to urban agriculture.
. . . . . .. . . . . The revised rules will focus on impacts to
such as backyard efforts that become commercial enterprises. But
may not require any additional regulating. A draft of the revisions is
expected in the fall. . . . . .. . . . "We aren't interested creating
issue where none exists," she said. "We had even joked about finally
out the reference to chickens and rabbits, but maybe not." .. . .
. . . . . Indeed. Interest in chickens in the city and suburbs does
to be rising. Andrew Rose of Baldwin read The Omnivore's Dilemma, which
touts the benefits of locally grown foods, for his book club a few
ago and was inspired. . . .. .
. . . . He also has a neighbor with chickens and enjoys getting the
free egg. He got plans from a Web site and began trapping and releasing
raccoons farther from his yard. He's almost finished his own coop. .
. .. . "My family is interested in raising the birds for their
meat," he said. "My kids will name the chickens, and it is pretty hard
to eat a pet that has a name." . . . . . . . . .. . Though some people
chicken feed and waste attracts rats, and the chickens - or illegal roosters,
more likely - are noisy, Michelle Brown is happy to live next to the birds.
She lives in Upperco and enjoys the cackling, crowing and "ambience"
of chickens owned by neighbors. Chickens, she says, imply, "You're
in the country." . .. After reading books and magazine on the subject,
she said her family is ready for its own chickens. . . . . .. . . . Back
in Baltimore, Smith said newcomers may discover that chickens require a
significant investment of time and money. . . .. . . . Start-up costs were
about $1,000, which leads her to joke that each egg will cost $14 for perhaps
as the long as the chickens live, eight years or more. The birds have to
be fed and watered daily, and occasionally cleaned. Waste needs scooping
to control odor, the coop needs moving to avoid lawn damage, and hands
and eggs need washing to control a possible salmonella outbreak. .
. .. . . But the affection, as with any pet, goes both ways, Smith says.
And Josh adds that the eggs are like none found at the grocery. . . . ..
. "They're kind of sweet," he said. "I like mine fried with bacon on the
side." . . . . . . . Online resources: thecitychicken.com.
. . •backyardchickens.com . .. •urbanchickens.org •urbanchickenunderground
. .. . .blogspot.com .. . Copyright 2013, The Baltimore Sun
|From Newsweek / issue Nov. 17, 2013.... or: The New Coop de Ville . . . . . . The craze for urban poultry
farming. . . . . . . Jessica Bennett . . . . . NEWSWEEK . . . . . . . .
For Brooklyn real-estate agent Maria Mackin, the obsession started five
years ago, on a trip to Pennsylvania Amish country. She, her husband and
three children—now 17, 13 and 11—sat down for brunch at a local bed-and-breakfast,
and suddenly the chef realized she'd run out of eggs. "She said, 'Oh goodness!
I'll have to go out to the garden and get some more'," Mackin recalls.
"She cooked them up and they were delicious." Mackin and her husband, Declan
Walsh, looked at each other, and it didn't take long for the idea to register:
Could we have chickens too? They finished their brunch and convinced the
bed-and-breakfast owner, a Mennonite celery farmer, to sell them four chickens.
. . . . . . They packed them in a little nest in the back of their Plymouth
Voyager minivan and headed back to Brooklyn. . . .
. . . The family has been raising chickens ever since, in the backyard
of their brick townhouse in an urban waterfront neighborhood called Red
Hook. Every Easter, Mackin orders a new round of chicks, now from a catalog
that ships the newborns in a ventilated box while they are still feeding
from their yolks. When they are grown, she offers up their eggs—and occasionally
extra chickens, when she decides she's got too many—to friends and neighbors,
and sells a portion to a local bistro, which touts the neighborhood poultry
on its Web site. She gives the chicken manure—a high-quality fertilizer—to
a local community garden in exchange for hay, which she uses to pad
the chickens' wire-fenced coop. Occasionally, she kills and cooks up a
chicken for dinner—though, she says, her chickens are egg layers and aren't
particularly tasty. "We joke and call ourselves the Red Hook Poultry Association,"
says the former social worker, who at one time housed 27 chicks inside
her kitchen—for six weeks. "Sometimes people are like, 'This is really
kind of weird'." . . .
. . . . As it turns out, Mackin is hardly an anomaly, in New York or any
other urban center. Over the past few years, urban dwellers driven by the
local-food movement, in cities from Seattle to Albuquerque, have flocked
to the idea of small-scale backyard chicken farming—mostly for eggs, not
meat—as a way of taking part in home-grown agriculture. This past
year alone, grass-roots organizations in Missoula, Mont.; South Portland,
Maine; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Ft. Collins, Colo., have successfully lobbied
to overturn city ordinances outlawing backyard poultry farming, defined
in these cities as egg farming, not slaughter. Ann Arbor now allows residents
to own up to four chickens (with neighbors' consent), while the other three
cities have six-chicken limits, subject to various spacing and nuisance
regulations. . . . . . . That quick growth in popularity has some
people worried about noise, odor and public health, particularly in regard
to avian flu. A few years back in Salt Lake City—which does not allow for
backyard poultry farming—authorities had to impound 47 hens, 34 chicks
and 10 eggs from a residential home after neighbors complained about incessant
clucking and a wretched stench, along with wandering chickens and feathers
scattered throughout the neighborhood. "The smell got to be unbelievable,"
one neighbor told the local news. Meanwhile, in countries from Thailand
to Australia, where bird flu has spread in the past, government officials
have threatened to ban free-range chickens for fear they are contributing
to outbreaks. (In British Columbia, where officials estimated earlier this
year that there are as many as 8,000 chicken flocks, an avian flu outbreak
four years forced the slaughter of more than 17 million birds.) . . . .
. . But avian flu has not shown up in wild birds, domestic poultry or
people in the United States. And, as the Washington-based Worldwatch
Institute (an environmental research group) pointed out in a report last
month, experts including the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production
have said that if we do see it, it'll be more likely to be found in factory-farmed
poultry than backyard chickens. As GRAIN, an international sustainable
agriculture group, concluded in a 2006 report: "When it comes to bird flu,
diverse small-scale poultry farming is the solution, not the problem."
. . . . . . . . Many urban farmers are taking that motto to heart. In New
York, where chickens (but not roosters, whose loud crowing can disturb
neighbors) are allowed in limitless quantities, there are at least 30 community
gardens raising them for eggs, and a City Chicken Project run by a local
nonprofit that aims to educate the community about their benefits. In Madison,
Wis., where members of a grass-roots chicken movement, the Chicken Underground,
successfully overturned a residential chicken ban four years ago, there
are now 81 registered chicken owners, according to the city's animal-services
department. "There's definitely a growing movement," says 33-year-old
Rob Ludlow, the Bay Area operator of BackyardChickens.com and the owner
of five chickens of his own. "A lot of people really do call it an addiction.
Chickens are fun, they have a lot of personality. I think people are starting
to see that they're really easy pets—and they actually produce something
in return." . . . . .
. . Because chickens can be considered both livestock and pet, farming
them for eggs—or keeping them as pets—is unregulated in major cities like
New York and Los Angeles. But it isn't legal everywhere. According to one
recent examination by urban-agriculture expert Jennifer Blecha, just
65 percent of major cities allow chickenkeeping, while 40 percent allow
for one or more roosters. (Hens don't need roosters to lay unfertilized
eggs.) . . . . . . Chicken slaughter, meanwhile, tends to fall under
a separate (and generally stricter) set of regulations, though they're
not always enforced. Most cities that allow chicken farming limit the number
to four or six per household, so many urban farmers aren't raising enough
chickens to slaughter and sell anyway—though they may cook up a meal or
two at home. If they want to slaughter more, there are mobile slaughterhouses
in places like Washington state that will do the dirty work for you: USDA-approved
refrigerated trucks will pull right up to your doorstep. . . . . . . Chicken
farmers are finding each other on sites like TheCityChicken.com,
UrbanChickens.org and MadCityChickens.com. BackyardChickens.com logs some
6 million page views each month and has some 18,000 members in its forum,
where community members share colorful stories (giving a chicken CPR),
photos (from a California chicken show), even look to each other for comfort.
"I am worried that non-BYC people won't understand why a 34-year-old woman
would cry over a $7 chicken," writes a Stockton, N.J., woman, whose chicken
was killed by a hawk. . . . .
. . Over at UrbanChickens.org, which launched this year, founder K. T.
LaBadie, a master's student in community planning, provides updates on
city ordinances, info about local chicken-farming classes and coop tours
and has been contacted by activists hoping to overturn chicken bans around
the nation. In Albuquerque, where she lives with her husband and four chickens—Gloria,
Switters, Buffy and Omelet—residents can keep 15 chickens and one rooster,
subject to noise ordinances, as well as slaughter the chickens for food.
In July, LaBadie wrote in detail of her first killing: she and her husband
hung the bird by its legs, slit its throat, plucked its feathers and put
it on ice. Then they slow-cooked it for 20 hours. "It's not pretty, it's
kinda messy, and it's a little smelly," she writes. "But it's quite real."
. . . . . . Meanwhile, at MadCityChickens.com, the Web site created by
the Madison Chicken Underground, chat-line operator Dennis Harrison-Noonan
has turned his chicken love into a mini-business: he's sold 2,000 design
kits for his custom-made playhouse chicken coop, which retails for $35.
"It's really not that crazy to think that people are doing this," says
Owen Taylor, the urban livestock coordinator at Just Food, which operates
the New York Chicken Project. "Most of the world keeps chickens, and they've
been doing so for thousands of years." . . . . . . Historically, he's right.
During the first and second world wars, the government even encouraged
urban farming by way of backyard "Victory Gardens" in an effort to lessen
the pressure on the public food supply. (Until 1859, there were 50,000
hogs living in Manhattan, according to Blecha.) . . .
"It's really only been over the last 50 years or so that we've gotten the
idea that modernity and success and urban spaces don't involve these productive
animals," Blecha says. . . . . . . There are a host of reasons for the
growing trend. "Locavores" hope to avoid the carbon emissions and energy
consumption that come with transporting food. Chicken owners and poultry
experts say eggs from backyard chickens are tastier and can be more nutritious,
with higher levels of supplements like omega-3 fatty acids. Their production
cost is cheap: you can buy chickens for as little as a couple of dollars,
and three hens will likely average about two eggs a day. You can
also use their waste to help revitalize a garden. "There've been recalls
on everything from beef to spinach, and I think people want to have peace
of mind knowing their food is coming from a very trusted source," says
LaBadie. "As gas prices go up, and people realize how food is connected
to oil and transportation, they are bound to realize they can get a higher
quality product cheaper if they get it locally." . . . . . Keeping a chicken
is relatively easy, too—assuming you don't get too attached. (That's a
talk Mackin says she had with her kids early: these chickens aren't pets.)
eat virtually anything—"pork products, string cheese, even Chinese takeout,"
she laughs—and they feed on bugs and pests that can ruin a garden. They
can withstand harsh weather conditions. (In one oft-told tale, a Maine
woman lost her chicken in a blizzard and found it, a day later, frozen
solid with its feet stuck straight in the air. She thawed it and administered
CPR. The chicken made a full recovery.) And much like New Yorkers, not
much bothers chickens grown in urban environments. "[Those] raised in a
really controlled environment like factory farms are very fragile, both
physically and emotionally," says Blecha, who lives in St. Paul, Minn.,
with her partner and six chickens. "My chickens, I mow the lawn a foot
away from them and they don't even look up from their pecking." . . . .
. . But even urban chickens, who can live more than five years, can die
from predators like dogs or possums, catching a cold or
sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Once, one of Mackin's chicks got
stuck in a glue trap. She drowned it, to put it out of its misery. "That
was really sad," she says. (Mackin doesn't name her chickens, for that
very reason.) . . . . . But the overall experience seems to be positive
for everyone. "We have people calling weekly to say, 'This is really cool',"
says Patrick Comfert, a spokesman for Madison's animal-services department,
where the chicken ban was reversed in 2004. "Chicken people love it,
the neighbors don't care, we have no complaints." Minneapolis enthusiast
Albert Bourgeois sums up the appeal. "Chickens are really fun pets," he
says. His flock is named Cheney, Condi, Dragon, Fannie and Freddie. The
next one, he says, will be Obama.
|Thursday, September 11, 2013 . . . .. . ROBIN FRANZEN . ..
. . . The Oregonian Staff . .. . . . Rules of roost challenged
. . . . Jill Moss wants her chickens back, but first she has to get
the Gresham City Council to change an ordinance .. . . . .
GRESHAM, OREGON -- Once or twice a day, Jill Moss trudges up a path to
a neighbor's house in Gresham to visit her itinerant "girls," Lacey,
Goldilocks, Jellybean, Gumdrop, Cocoa and Chocolate . . . . . . Moss peeks
inside their nesting boxes for eggs, delights in their gentle clucking
-- a sound that's been noticeably missing from her own backyard since July,
when the city took a complaint about her birds and evicted them as scofflaw
fowl . . . . .
. "We miss them . . .They are our pets," Moss said last week, as the hens
strutted inside a fenced enclosure provided by a sympathetic friend . .
. . . . . That's where they've laid low -- legally -- since the city told
Moss to move the birds from her property this summer . . . . . . Now Moss
is fighting to bring them home . . . . . On Sept .2, she presented a
passionate treatise on the environmental and health benefits of chicken-rearing
to the Gresham City Council, including letters of support from neighbors
fowl-friendly organizations, with the hope of persuading elected officials
to loosen the city's chicken-keeping rules . . . . . She's also documenting
her "chicken fight" on her personal blog, at www.jillmoss.blogspot.com
. . . . . .Three years ago, Moss says, Gresham officials told her it was
OK to keep chickens in her suburban neighborhood if they didn't bother
anyone . . . . . . . The city wouldn't enforce its decades-old rules requiring
a 100-foot buffer between a coop and adjoining properties unless someone
balked . . . . . . .After all, chicken-keeping was already becoming popular
in urban Portland, roughly a dozen blocks away from Moss' home . . . ."I've
always wanted a farm, but I can't afford a farm," Moss said . . . . . .
. "Then, I thought, hey, maybe this is something I could do." . .
. . . So her husband built a barn-style coop in their spacious backyard
-- they live on one-fifth of an acre -- and the black and golden birds
quickly settled into the family . . . . . . . For several years, the Mosses
collected two dozen eggs a week, without outcry from anyone . . . . . .
. The birds ate bugs from the yard and gobbled up table scraps, Moss
said, turning it into chemical-free fertilizer for their yard . . .
. . Her daughter, Carina, now 11, even became known as the family "chicken
whisperer" because of her connection to the animals . . . . In July, however,
peace flew the coop . . . . . . . Moss' next-door neighbor, Jim Brischle,
demanded that the city enforce its buffer law because the chickens woke
him up in the morning and smelled bad . . . . . . . "I cried for 45 minutes,"
Moss recalled when she got the city removal notice, suspecting her neighbor's
objection really had more to do with her cat wandering into his yard than
her six hens . . . . . . "And then I said 'No, that's not right . . .
. . . . That's not what's going to happen.' " . . . . To avoid an
immediate fine, the chickens had to go -- not far, just to a friend's house
two doors away where the buffer requirement could be met because the lot
borders a green space . . . . . . . But Moss, a media assistant at Lynch
Meadows Elementary School, decided she was going to fight to change
the law . . . . . . . Over the next month, she researched her case
and lobbied elected officials, arguing that Portland's requirements, calling
for a 25-foot buffer, were a lot more reasonable . . . . . . . People at
City Hall started referring to her as "the chicken lady," she laughed .
. . . . . . Then came her council presentation, which won her praise for
professionalism . . . . . .Mike Abbate, the city's recently hired planning
director, calls Moss' approach "savvy." He also acknowledges that Gresham's
current poultry-keeping regulations make it hard to find any lot large
enough in the city to legally keep chickens . . . . . . . It's been five
to 10 years since those rules have been reviewed, he said, but the City
Council will have to decide if it wants to make changing them a priority
. . . . . . .Already, Moss has an ally in City Council President Paul Warr-King,
who thinks it makes sense to make Gresham's rules consistent with Portland's
whenever possible . . . . . . . He said he was impressed with her research
and sees lots of benefits from hens, though he favors a ban on noisy roosters
. . . . . . ."People like them," Warr-King said of chickens, noting that
his daughter keeps a flock in Portland's Hawthorne district . . . . . .
. "I've never heard a complaint before this." . . . . Chickens, as
it turns out, ruffle few feathers . . . . . . . The city's code enforcement
office logged six poultry-related violations in 2007 and eight so far this
year, said supervisor Eric Schmidt . . . . . . . Fines for noncompliance
run about $200 per month . . . . ."Sometimes we'll get anonymous calls
about chickens running down the road," but it's not a big issue, Schmidt
said . . . . . . . Sometimes neighbors use the city's chicken rules as
ammunition in disputes having nothing to do with chickens, he said, but
he had no idea if that was the case here . . . . . Brischle, the neighbor
who lodged a complaint with the city, said Monday that he wasn't inclined
to discuss the situation with The Oregonian but did plan to lobby in the
opposite direction -- for an even larger buffer protecting neighbors from
coops . . . . . . . He lodged a second complaint in August after Moss temporarily
brought one of the chickens back to her yard because it was pecking its
flock-mates at the new location . . . . . ."I'd like the rules adhered
to," Brischle said . . . . . . . "The chickens wake me up at 6 a.m . .
. . . . . in May and June . . . . . . . And they smell." . . . .
. Robin Franzen: 503-294-5943; firstname.lastname@example.org
|HeraldNet, of Everett, Washington mentions
TheCityChicken.com in this article from August 21, 2013: . . . A chicken in every yard? Why not? . . . By Debra Smith, Herald Columnist . . . . I'll admit it:
I have pro-chicken leanings. . . . . . Five years ago I would have dismissed
backyard hens as a throwback to farm life that should probably be left
there. . . . . . Since then, by chance, my job has taken me to suburban
homes with backyard hens. What I've found is that a few properly cared
for hens (minus the cock-a-doodle-doo rooster) are clean and quiet enough
that you wouldn't know they were there laying eggs on the other side of
the fence. . .
. . . Chickens suffer from a PR problem. People think chickens are dirty,
noisy and smelly. The truth? A few cared-for hens are cleaner and quieter
than one big dog or the three neighbor cats that poop in the flower beds.
Plus you get eggs. . . . . . Maybe because of those negative associations,
cities in Snohomish County have vastly different regulations for chickens.
In Everett, you can keep up to six hens but no rooster. Just across the
border in Mukilteo, no hens are allowed at all. You also can't start a
flock in Edmonds or Lynnwood. Keep in mind that the most densely developed
and urban of our area cities, Seattle, allows three hens. . . . . . . Can
hens be smelly and dirty? You bet. So can dogs, cats, parakeets, rabbits
and hamsters, when an owner keeps too many and doesn't care for them.
Nearly all the city codes in the county have a provision that prohibits
animals from becoming a public nuisance. Presumably, people who don't take
care of their flock could be handled under these provisions. . . . . .
I bring all this up because more people are interested in keeping a few
backyard hens for eggs. At least that's what Joan DeVries has noticed.
She works for the Washington State University's Livestock Advisor Program,
which provides education for people who want to raise farm animals. . .
. . . People who raise a few hens probably won't be saving money on
eggs or meat, but they will know it's safe and of good quality, and
that's what most people who want to raise them are concerned with, she
said. . . . . . Part of her job is educating the public at venues such
as the Evergreen State Fair. She's continually surprised by how removed
many of us are from nature. She has met children who can't recognize a
goat. It's not just the kids, either. . . . . . On the other end of the
spectrum is Emmett Wild, a 4-H phenom with more blue ribbons and trophies
than Michael Phelps. The 17-year-old from Lakewood raises, breeds and shows
poultry. He keeps not only chickens, but rare ducks and homing pigeons.
Emmett keeps nearly 100 birds, but he also lives in a rural area and his
family has enough property. . . . . . .Emmett said kids who would like
to get into chickens should find a local breeder and start with good chicks.
He breeds and promotes heritage breeds. He suggested attending the Cascade
Spring Show in March at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds to talk with breeders.
. . . . . His father, Ken Wild, said 4-H has provided a supportive environment
and it's a good step for families interested in raising chickens. He said
raising chickens helps instill responsibility. Emmett's involvement in
4-H has certainly made him knowledgeable. I quizzed him on everything from
composting to breeding. He is considering a career in sustainable agriculture.
. . . . . . If you'd like more information on chickens, consider subscribing
to "Backyard Poultry" magazine or reading "Keep Chickens! Tending Small
Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces" by Barbara Kilarski
or "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" by Gail Damerow. . . . . . Two
information-packed Web sites contain good information for backyard chicken
keeping as well as plenty of photos of moveable coops appropriate for
small yards: www.thecitychicken.com and www.backyardchickens.com. .
. . . Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or email@example.com. Visit her blog
”Dear Katy…Your site is a gas. My husband was pulled into it yesterday and couldn't seem to
|Following article from the August/September issue, 2013 www.backyardpoultrymag.com,
by Katy Skinner of www .TheCityChicken.Com. It makes sense
to keep some hens in your backyard. Chickens eat your household food waste;
up to nine pounds per chicken per month. The municipality of Diest in Flanders,
Belgium gave 2,000 households free chickens so that they could reduce
the waste stream. Personally, I can’t stand being
without a few chickens in the backyard for long. Being without them means
I have to throw all my food scraps into the garbage, and that makes me
feel guilty. With chickens I put all food scraps into a small bucket I
keep on my kitchen counter, it’s fed to the hens, and it’s turned into
new food; eggs. . . . . Laws in Your Community . . . . . But is keeping
chickens in your backyard legal? In the old days, of course you could keep
chickens. Probably most people did. Nowadays, there are actually laws on
the books expressly addressing chickens in most cities. Many city codes
say it is legal to keep chickens in one’s yard and just as many say that
it is illegal. Conveniently, most cities have their “city codes” on
the Internet these days. People can easily search for “chickens” or “poultry”
within those codes. Also found on the Internet is which city department
governs poultry issues. In Portland, Oregon for example, the keeping of
chickens is handled by the “vector control” office, the same department
that handles mosquito and rat control, as well as unlawful yard debris
disposal and old tire piles. In other cities, it falls under the duties
of the county animal control department. And here’s a helpful hint; if
you telephone one of these city departments, and the first person you talk
to—say, a receptionist or secretary—tells you in no uncertain terms that
chickens are illegal to keep where you live…keep on researching to double-check.
have had a number of folks tell me that people supposedly in the know have
given them wrong information. . . . . Is Keeping Chickens in the
City Legal? Well, That Depends on Where You Live . . . . . When keeping
poultry in the city, there are basically two tacks you can take; try to
get the law changed, or keep chickens “illegally.” If you want to try to
change the law on the books, first do your research. Christine Heinrichs,
SPPA Publicity Director, and author of How to Raise Chickens, lays out
some great guidelines for working to get an ordinance changed. Visit MadCityChickens
Commit to the idea that you might be in for a long haul. You will have
to write proposals and present them at your city hall meetings, possibly
a number of times. Get as many people as possible to support your cause.
Many cities have gotten their chicken laws changed in just this way. Some
folks keep hens in their backyard even though their city codes say it’s
prohibited. Keeping an attractive or unobtrusive coop like these examples
may help to prevent ruffled feathers. Take steps to be courteous, keep
the number of chickens low, don't keep roosters, set your small coop
near the house or garage wall, keep the coop clean so that odors are not
detected, and never let the chickens out to roam free. If you choose this
option, be prepared for the headache and heartache, of being reported by
a neigbor or somone else that won't like your birds. . . . . Change
the Laws in Your Community or Go Underground - - As an example, in Topeka,
Kansas, an unlimited number of chickens are allowed, but chickens must
be penned 50 feet from any neighboring house, whereas in Houston, Texas
chickens must be kept 100 feet from neighboring structures, which pretty
much rules out chicken-keeping for anyone who lives on less than half an
acre. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, unlimited chickens are allowed but there
are no details on the books other than that. In Little Rock, Arkansas,
up to four chickens are allowed per household. In New York City, chickens
are considered pets under the health code. Unlimited number of hens are
allowed there but no roosters or other types of poultry. In Chicago, Illinois
you can have an unlimited number of chickens if their use is only for pets
or eggs, and the city code stipulates you cannot raise them if their use
is to slaughter. Quite different from the old days! In Detroit, Toledo,
and Sacramento, the laws state that chicken-keeping is not allowed at all. Q.
I had a neighbor write me an anonymous letter telling me that my three
hens are too noisy, are bothering them when they try to sleep, and they
are going to call animal control. What should I do? A. Hens can
be noisy sporadically, and if the chickens are anywhere near a sensitive
sleeping person, they might indeed be bothering someone. In my own personal
opinion, I think barking dogs can be far more bothersome than cackling
hens, which only cackle for short bursts lasting usually under a minute,
the max a few times per day, and none at all after sun set. Whereas dogs
can go on barking jags that last a half an hour or more, and often after
dark. This neighbor of yours has probably written letters
to other neighbors about their dogs or radios, etc., since it sounds like
they are sensitive to noises and are prone to write letters. You’re probably
not being singled out. But sometimes letters are the easiest way to address
a concern. You are doing the right thing in researching and knowing the
laws on chicken-keeping in your neighborhood. The bothered neighbor may
indeed call animal control to find that you are keeping chickens completely
legally. At my old house, we had to actually have a permit to keep chickens,
which I had. So once when a neighbor said something about my chickens,
I was able to say, “I have a permit; would you like to see it?” (I had
complained about their dog coming into my yard and leaving poops a lot
and instead of apologizing, they said they were going to call the cops
on my chickens.) What I personally would do would be to put my two or three
hens in a mobile “chicken
tractor” and move them to the other side of the house. This
way, you will probably be moving them away from the sensitive neighbor.
My solution is to compromise as best as possible, and for me this is keeping
the chickens in a coop that can be moved to other parts of the yard if
needed due to a complaint. I make an effort to meet all my neighbors. I
bring them half a dozen fresh chicken eggs with my card on it, which has
my phone number and e-mail address, and I ask the neighbors if my chickens
can be heard and if they are ever bothersome to please feel free to let
me know. Yes, I really do this! Last year, even with just three
hens currently, I was able to give all of my six immediate neighbors a
half a dozen eggs every once in awhile throughout the summer. I have
also received e-mails from people who have done the above but have still
been turned in by neighbors, and have been asked to get rid of their illegal
chickens. I feel this is sad, since the majority of pet housecats are
allowed to roam at large which is illegal, yet most of this goes unreported.
I truly feel for people who have been cited and told their chickens must
be removed. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen all
that often; most of the time chickens are left undetected on private property,
or are tolerated by the majority of neighbors. The worst case scenario
is that you are keeping chickens illegally, the neighbors won’t let up
and won’t compomise, the authorities have been ticketing you, and you have
a deadline to remove your chickens. In this case, I personally advocate
being a law-abider and selling your chickens, at least for now. Then if
you can, work with your city council to change the chicken laws.
. . . . . . .
|Article from Slate.com . . . . There Will Be Chicken Blood . . . . The
gritty truth about urban farming. . . . .By L.E. Leone . . . . Posted Wednesday,
June 4, 2013, at 12:58 PM ET . . . . URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2192934/?GT1=38001
. . . . My chickens, I like to think, are the most highly entertained chickens
in the world. I sunbathe with them, hang out in the bushes with them, and
sing to them. When they hear me sing my one cover, "St. Louis Blues," they
know to be nervous. "I hate to see ... that evening sun go down," I croon.
And they get goose bumps. They seem to know that when that evening sun
does go down, one of them will lose her head. . . . . . I'm a sweet girl,
I swear! Every time, I cry like crazy. It's not easy to swing the ax, but
I do; then I kneel in the dirt, holding the body still while it flutters,
and hyperventilate. It doesn't take that long. There's never as much blood
as I think there's going to be, either, which is vaguely disappointing.
If I'm going to kill what I love, I want as much as possible to show for
it, including ruined clothing. . .
. . . I can't stop singing about, or writing about, chickens. I also can't
stop reading about them, because whenever people come across anything in
the media relating to my feathery friends, they e-mail it to me. There's
been a lot of ink spilled lately (in the New York Times, among other publications)
on city chickens and the urban farming movement. Yes, movement. Whether
they're screw-you-ing the chicken or the egg industries (or, of course,
both), next-gen farmers seem to have read Michael Pollan very carefully.
They are hip, young, smart, liberal-arts-college graduates, green in many
senses of the word, wearing stiff new overalls and chewing on only organic,
free-range, locally grown straw, racing outside to move their tractors
for street-sweeping. They are locavores, homesteaders, part of a revolution.
They are saving the environment, making a statement. And if they eat their
own, they tend to see the killing as an unpleasant downside—a tradeoff
for the clear conscience that comes with cage-free, hormone-free, factory-free
gumbo. . . . . . Manny Howard, who chronicled his experience subsistence
farming in Brooklyn for New York magazine, described his poultry harvest
as "tedious and grotesque work." Afterward, he "laid down on the driveway
with three bottles of beer." Even Herrick Kimball, author of the great
How To Butcher a Chicken blog, admits to being "grossed out by the whole
thing" at first. "That is the typical modern reaction," he writes. Many
of the other Web pages devoted to urban chicken farming say nothing at
all about butchering. At
sites like thecitychicken.com, you
can learn about coop construction, hatching eggs, feeding, protecting,
and diagnosing chickens. Everything, in short, except what is for me the
most satisfying part: the bloodying. . . . . . In some cities you can take
classes in chicken farming—proof that these next-geners are most enthusiastic
about the theoretical aspects of agriculture. Peat Willicutt teaches such
a course in Minneapolis. How to lop off heads is not a part of the curriculum,
per se, he told me, although students do ask. And if they ask, he tells
them. In some cases, he shows them. But not in the classroom. Blood and
guts are extracurricular activities. The students in Willicutt's urban
chicken farming course, which fills to capacity every time it's offered,
run the gamut from what he calls "pet-oriented" to what I call pot-oriented.
It is in deference to the former that Willicutt doesn't draw blood in the
classroom. . . . . .But I wonder whether pet farmers know that chickens
get sick and hurt, and that sometimes killing can be an act of mercy. Even
in cities, chickens have predators. On 29th Street in San Francisco, hungry,
street-smart raccoons used to line up on my roof, staring at the hens
I kept under my deck, waiting for me to slip one night and leave their
door open. In the woods, where I live now, I have monkey-wrenched the dinner
plans of foxes and bobcats, and I can't honestly say that my farmerly instinct
for intervention was ever in the chickens' best interest. It was in my
best interest, because I don't want predators thinking of my coop as a
three-star restaurant. Once word gets around the animal kingdom that you're
serving chicken, your life becomes a Saturday morning cartoon, and then
forget about ever getting anything done. . . . . . .Worst-case scenario:
I talked a fox out of a hen recently, and as far as I could tell, the hen
was not hurt. No blood, nothing broken, hardly even any feathers missing.
She seemed as if she was in shock, so I waited for her to snap out of it.
For hours she wouldn't eat or drink or move. She just stood there, like
me. I can't say what was going through her little mind, but mine was wondering
whether Jack Kevorkian ever kept chickens. Meanwhile, very, very slowly,
she died. I should have helped her along, saved her some suffering. I should
have Dr. Deathed her. . . . . . ."It behooves everyone to once in their
life take part in the killing of their meat," Willicutt told me. "I don't
really have mixed feelings. I've made my peace with it. It's an essential
evil of omnivores." . . . . . . I can vouch for "essential." I can vouch
for "omnivore." My brain and my body crave meat with my salad. In fact,
I think I might die without it. For sure I'd go crazy. But, personally,
I don't know about "evil." I'll own it: There's a part of me that likes
to kill. When I do what I do with a hatchet and a chicken, I feel like
crap, and I feel like God. I feel alive and in love and closer than ever
to death. So I guess that is, for me, mixed feelings, yes. And the mix
itself is welcome and intensely gratifying. In fact, it's almost too much.
Too swirly, too soupy. I can tell you that the part of this swirl which
seems "good," as opposed to "evil," has absolutely nothing to do with
foiling the chicken industry or saving the environment or taking personal
responsibility for my role in the food chain. It has to do with getting
a little bit bloody and gross, like the complicated, hungry animal that
| . . . . .From page 38 of the April/May
2013 issue of ‘Backyard Poultry
Magazine,’ written by Katy Skinner . . . . . . .Raising Chickens in
the City . . . . . .I am the author of TheCityChicken.com
website. I started my website about 10 years ago. Who knew then that it
would lead me to be interviewed by newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor,
USA Today, and even be asked to teach chicken-keeping classes! The idea
behind the site was to motivate city and suburban dwellers to try keeping
a few hens in their backyards, because they’ll find it easier than
they imagined! . .
. . .TheCityChicken.com is a simple website. I don’t know enough about
computers to make it any more sophisticated than it is. Nevertheless, we’re
still getting about 500 visits per day, and I am even able to sell a few
ads on the site. About eight years ago, when my first son Bert was born,
my husband and I bought our first house. Built in 1929, it was a fixer-upper,
but had a big yard, andstill only 64 blocks from downtown Portland, Oregon.
I enjoyed fixing up the house and gardening, and I knew I wanted to keep
some chickens even thought we were in the big city. My mother kept a flock
or two of chickens over the years when I was growing up, so I knew that
keeping chickens was fairly simple. You just go to the feed store in the
spring and pick up some day-old chicks. . . . . . Don’t worry, I’m not
going to now tell you that I was na?ve and didn’t know how much work chickens
were; they’re not! There is no surprise here; chickens are easy and fun.
far as pets go, they are among the easiest you’ll find. Sure, there’s
a learning curve, but the manifesto at the top of my website asserts just
that; You, too, can keep some chickens in your backyard. Just go for it.
In contrast, I would not encourage people to “just go for” buying a dog.
Too many people already do that. Dogs and even cats simply take more time,
energy, money and commitment than do chickens. The pages of TheCityChicken.com
are peppered with reader’s feedback, telling me the site gave them the
impetus to start keeping chickens. . . . .TheCityChicken.com started
out as me just wanting to document my chicken-keeping endeavors. All I
did at first was take some snapshots and when they came back from the developers,
put them in the scanner and then upload them to some free picture hosting
space on the internet. Nowadays, I have a digital camera, but back then
I just occasionally put up pictures of chicken coops I built, or a picture
of my kids and I with the chickens. That habit very, very gradually grew
into a regular website, complete with things like “frequently asked questions”
and picture galleries. . . . . .Does anyone out there go to sleep
thinking about how to build another chicken coop? I do, and it works
better than counting sheep. It might sound like I’m obsessed with chickens,
but ironically, the opposite is true. I like chickens because they are
a pet I don’t have to worry about all the time. Do you need to to take
them to obedience classes? No. Do you have to worry that they will bite
the mailman? No. Take them to the vet? Neuter them? Groomers? Licensing
fees? Boarding kennel when you go on a trip? All no. Conversely, does a
dog eat your old lettuce? All your kitchen scraps? Eat your weeds and bugs?
Give you ferilizer for the garden? Lays eggs? No, a cat or dog does not.
I’ve had dogs, and will get a dog again someday, but right now, I get my
pet needs met by chickens. . . . . . So let’s start with the very
first thing a future urban chicken-keeper needs: Motivation! Many of the
e-mails I get about chickens are from people who live in the city and don’t
have chickens yet, but want to take the plunge. TheCityChicken.com is geared
towards showing how chicken-keeping is simple and how getting a few baby
chicks in the spring is not intimidating. For example, I keep my chick-rearing
instructions down to one page in length, and suggest readers print out
that one page and take it to the feed store with them. . . . . Here
are a few frequently-asked questions from TheCityChicken.com: . .
. . .Q. “When you say you can raise chickens in the city,
you really mean in the suburbs, right? One can’t raise chickens in a high
rise apartment.” A. I raised a hen from a baby chick when I lived
in an apartment once. It was a bantam breed and so only grew as large as
a parrot, which people keep as pets all the time, and chickens can live
outside. Except unlike a parrot, my species of bird would eat my kitchen
scraps and give me eggs. I kept it in a cage meant for a rabbit, and it
took up less space than a dog kennel, and I put the cage out on the patio
at times. The only thing I would do differently is raise two chicks at
a minimum, as one chick gets lonely. I personally think it’s not too nice
to keep a dog cooped up in an apartment, and people do that all the time.
It might mean a change of thinking, but why couldn’t city folks keep pets
that are super practical and give them fresh eggs? . . .
You could collect the chicken droppings, compost them in a small container,
and then put them in your planters on your patio where you are growing
some tomatoes or flowers. That said, yes, it would be easier if you had
even a little plot of grass to place your chicken coop on. And that’s why
TheCityChicken.com has a picture gallery of over 100 pictures of small,
movable chicken coops called “tractors” that would be ideal for the suburban
chicken owner. FYI; in the UK they call chicken tractors “arks.” . . .
. . .Q. “I do like the chicken tractor idea, but they’d also need
a regular hen house and pen, right?” A. In a word, no. My chicken pen housing
situation evolved. I’ve used chicken tractors successfully but then tried
all sorts of other ways. I used a dog kennel once in part because it was
given to me free. Basically, you use as housing that which works. And that
would be some shelter that keeps the chickens dry and relatively draft
free, and predator proof. A chicken tractor, depending on how long you
built it, could house up to 5 or more hens. Chicken tractors are perfect
for city folks’ chickens, and a small one could house two or three
hens; the number of hens I think first-timers should start with in a very
small space. Chicken tractors are inherently predator resistant, and for
chickens “predator” mainly means raccoons and stray dogs. I have had hawks
swoop down on my chickens before but they can’t get in to a chicken tractor.
In the country, some chicken keepers have had to string electric wire around
their chicken coops, but in the city and with a chicken tractor, that isn’t
needed. TheCityChicken.com tractor gallery hopefully will inspire your
first coop. Be sure to park your chicken tractor near a window so you can
have fun watching your chickens.
| . . . .
. From the October 2013 issue of Sunset Magazine. . . . . . . .Great wine,
naturally . . . . . .From cosmic forces to chickens, winegrowers embrace
nature to make wines full of character . . . . . . .by Sara Schneider
. . . . . . .When the moon is full at Ce?go Del Lago on the north shore
of California's Clear Lake, things begin to happen around the vineyard.
. . . . . . . . . . .Not ghostly things; rather, vines are pruned and wines
are blended. . . . . . . . . . . .When the moon's dark, there's different
activity. . . . .. . . .The wines are racked — siphoned off the sediment
in the bottom of the barrels.. . . . . . . . .The lunar activity
isn't lunacy. . . . . . . . .It's part of the biodynamic farming system
that Jim Fetzer, owner of Cego, and a growing number of other winemakers
are committing to, including Robert Sinskey and Quintessa in Napa, and
Benziger, Quivira, and DeLoach in Sonoma County. . . . . . . . .They
practice biodynamic methods because it's the right thing to do for the
land, and also because they believe it infuses their wines with the most
vivid terroir, the Holy Grail of winemakers, the essence of the place where
the grapes were grown.. . . . . . . . .A full moon is a great levitating
force: The power that lifts tides in the oceans of the world also pulls
moisture up in grapevines and flavors out in wine lots, so it's the best
time to cut back vigorous vines and make informed blending decisions. .
. . . . . . .And when the moon goes dark and Earth's gravity holds
complete sway, the sediment in barrels stays put during racking. . . .
. . . . . .As Jim Fetzer, owner of Ce?go, puts it, "Would you try to paddle
upstream when the tide is going out?". . . . . .
. . . . . .Biodynamic methods go far beyond what you can't do in organicland
(that is, use no synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides) to what
you can do to make a vineyard a fully alive, completely self-sustaining
ecosystem. . .. . . . . . .Like making sure that many things are growing
there, because biodiversity is key to soil health and pest management.
. . . . .. . . .At Cego, the vines share the property with lavender, olive
trees, and other edibles. . . . . . . . . . .Crop rotation is also important.
. . . . . . . . .But since it's a tad impractical to switch out grapevines,
cover crops — fava beans, strawberry clover — are rotated.. . . . . . .
. . . . .The fertilizer on a biodynamic farm is "green" too. . . . . .
.. . .In the vineyards, some of it is dropped directly — by sheep and chickens.
. . . . . . . .The Cego hens live in style: They have a mini
mobile home that gets pulled here and there, giving them a place to
sleep and lay their eggs (which you can buy in the tasting room). . . .
. . . . .Combining animal and plant lives is key to a holistic biodynamic
operation.. . . . . . . . . .The real science and lore of biodynamic winegrowing,
though, rest in a handful of preparations applied at very specific times
and some in seemingly peculiar ways. . . . . . . . .For example,
ground-up quartz crystals are sprayed over the vines in the morning to
refract the sun and boost photosynthesis, and manure is packed into the
horn of a cow and buried in the garden from the fall to the spring equinox,
before being made into a microbe-rich spray.. . . . . . . . . .All of which
seemed mystical to Fetzer at first. . . . . . . . .The sight of someone
stirring a crock of manure to pack into a cow's horn conjured up witches
in his head. . . . . . . . .But now it feels like smart farming — working
with the forces of nature rather than wresting crops from the ground..
. . . . .. . . . . .He still can't explain why burying that manure in a
female cow's horn, during the equinox in the fall, creates livelier microbial
life in the soil. . . . . . . . . .But the result is measurable. . . .
. . . . .. .And the latest Cego Merlot is more expressive of the land
than ever — that part's tasteable. . . . . . . . .So why not dig under
a full moon?
| . . . .
.Article from http://www.azcentral.com/ent/pop/articles/0723chickens23.html
. . . . . . . Keeping chickens in the backyard, by Denise Flaim . . . .
. .Newsday. . . . . . . . Jul. 23, 2013 . . . . . . This isn't your
grandmother's Rhode Island red. . . . . . . . . . Chickens, it turns out,
aren't just for the barnyard anymore. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal
christened the clucker "the pet of choice among some of the McMansion set,"
noting that in some social circles, it was the size of your coop that really
mattered. . . . . . . . . And now Barbara Kilarski has demystified all
things fair and fowl with her new book, "Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks
in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces" (Storey Publishing, $16.95).
. . . . . . . . Kilarski, the daughter of European farmers, grew up in
Los Angeles hearing all kinds of "barnyard lore." Eventually, she moved
to Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband bought a bungalow with a
thriving vegetable garden. One day, on a walk through her neighborhood,
"I heard some clucking," she remembers. "Someone has chickens,' I thought.
Why can't I?' " . . . . . . . . To Kilarski, the rewards were obvious:
would strip her organic garden of pesky bugs, provide manure for fertilizer
and lay fresh eggs. . . . . . . . . So, three years ago, she acquired
"The Girls," as she collectively calls them. (Individually, they are known
as Zsa Zsa, Lucy and Whoopee.) But first she did her homework - a must
for anyone who wants to raise livestock in a nonrural setting. . . . .
. . . "After making sure it was legal, I talked to my neighbors to make
sure it was OK with them. Some eyebrows went up, but no one objected,"
says Kilarski, who notes that noise problems occur when roosters are brought
into the picture. For that reason, many municipalities bar them, while
allowing their less vociferous female counterparts. . .
. . . . . Kilarski didn't think the hens would have a capacity for affection.
And while they are not as cuddly as some of their furry counterparts, she
likens her chickens to "big fat parakeets," with an "amusingly funny" streak.
. . . . . . . . "While they're not wired for affection in the same way
as cats and dogs, they sure do love you in their way. And while they don't
give kisses, I find their complete trust in me endearing," Kilarski says,
recounting her favorite PDA - poultry display of affection. "When we're
out in the yard reading the Sunday paper, it's not unusual for a hen to
jump on the back of a lawn chair and pull our hair gently." . . . . . .
Her chickens are more subdued with company, she notes, "unless the company
comes holding a big piece of bread. That breaks down all sorts of social
barriers." . . . . . . . . . "Keep Chickens!" is a thorough primer
for anyone "thinking chicken," as Kilarski puts it. The book covers everything
from the minimum dimensions of a coop to the recommended breeds for backyard
laying. (Plymouth Rocks, you'll learn, are prolific in the egg department.)
. . . . . . . Her personal obsession aside, Kilarski thinks cities and
chickens are a natural pairing. "It's perfectly fitting, especially
post 9/11, when people started thinking about quality of life and harkening
back to simpler times." . . . . . . . To be sure, there are drawbacks to
Chickendom. The cluckers can attract vermin such as rats, although Kilarski
says maintaining a clean coop and storing feed in airtight containers
cuts down significantly on unwanted visitors. Also, good-size hens can
trample a well-tended garden, so Kilarski allows hers to range for a limited
time - usually an hour before sunset, when they aren't tempted to dig dust
holes to cool off. . . . . . .With a life expectancy of seven to 10 years
(and sometimes longer), Kilarski's chickens are here to stay for quite
some time to come. And that's fine by her. "They are a great source of
conversation and conviviality," she says, painting a pastoral urban scene.
"And I like seeing them floating on the green lawn, taking sun baths under
the butterfly bush."
. . . .http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2002/0120/cover.html
. . . . . . . The Seattle Times. . . . . . . . Article, “Custom Coops”.
. . . . . . .. . . . From penthouse perches to covered porches, city chickens
are sitting pretty. . . . . . . . . . . . Written by Paula Bock, Photographs
by Harley Soltes.. .. . . . . . . . . . . If I were a chicken, I'd want
to live in Seattle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . As an urban chicken,
you enjoy all the benefits of cosmopolitan Northwest living — without having
to worry about the high cost of housing. (Poultry, here and everywhere,
typically don't invest much thought in the vagaries of the real-estate
market.) . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . Overcrowding wouldn't pose a problem because a city
ordinance limits outdoor pets to three per household. Even in a small backyard,
that's estate-size space. Especially compared to the residential density
endured by country cousins who are commercially grown and forcibly crammed
into tenement squawk boxes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key word here
is Pet. Means you'll likely live out your natural life in a lovingly constructed
custom home. Doesn't guarantee a Chicken McMansion, but sure beats the
soup pot. (Castle du poulet trumps chicken cassoulet!) . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . Most folks who keep urban fowl say they raise the birds for
spiritual sustenance rather than the meat. They find peace in watching
their feathered friends scrabble and strut. They share organic eggs
with neighbors. They take extraordinary delight in harvesting poultry poop
for their garden. . . . . This seven-part poultry compound near the
Burke-Gilman Trail in northeast Seattle features a "chicken tractor," a
wire enclosure alternated between raised beds so hens can weed and fertilize
multiple planting areas. The Egg McMansion was built by Ray Nichol and
his 12-year-old daughter Robin as a summer project. Even though they used
cedar, a building material evocative of Northwest architecture, they designed
the coop to look more like a thatched cottage in rural England or Asia..
. . .. . .
. . . . . "Not to sound like a big hippie . . . but now that people are
in this urban environment, they're searching for something to get back
in touch with the earth," says Phil Megenhardt, city chicken instructor
for Seattle Tilth. "I sort of teach it as a chicken-empowerment class."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seattle may be the nation's only major metropolis
to offer layfolks formal education in fowl fundamentals. In three years,
Megenhardt graduated about 300 people from his course. This year's class,
taught by Power Point whiz Amy Hagopian, was standing-room-only. If
each chicken fancier went on to establish a flock and followed the three-chicken
rule, that would add up to 1,000 chickens amongst us. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . The actual poultry population is probably much larger since
city officials, in recent years, have been too preoccupied with riots and
traffic jams to enforce the chicken clause. Into this unregulated atmosphere,
a profusion of creative coops has cropped up. . . . . . . . . . . . Perhaps
it's because permits are not required for coop construction. Or maybe the
hen houses are a reaction to the '90s boom of faux chateau boasting marble
bathrooms grand enough to host G-8 summits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. Then again, among the composting crowd, chicken coops may serve as a
simplicity status symbol. Call it pullet prestige. . . . . . . . . . .
. . .
. . Several of the Northwest's most important examples of coop design are
showcased every year in the Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop Tour, a self-guided
stroll through urban hen houses. Notable coops include a traditional
Cape gazebo, a modern condo topped by a penthouse, a Wild West Saloon and
an architect-designed chalet with cedar framing, galvanized steel roof
and hinged Lexan windows in classic four-pane pattern. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . The luxury home tour, Street of Dreams, may give visitors
an excuse to indulge in velvet voyeurism under the guise of looking for
practical ideas. But the Tilth Tour offers even more insight into neighbors'
intimate habits: How often they change their straw bedding. Who keeps a
rooster on the side. Secret spots where hens prefer to lay their eggs.
. . . .. . . . . . . . . Not all of the featured chicken houses are poultry
palaces. Some nod to practical considerations, such as ease of cleaning.
Others have an environmental focus. Several lean toward low-budget construction.
A few just lean. . . .. . . .
. . . . After their greyhounds died of cancer, the Nichol family decided
they wanted low-maintenance pets. Joan considered goats (not enough
room in the city) before settling on chickens. Ray and 12-year-old Robin
took on coop construction as this year's father-daughter summer project.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . With its whimsical notched shingles, this
classy chicken compound echoes the thatched-roof theme of Ray's nearby
toolshed, which has traditional bulging "eyebrows" over the windows as
in English country cottages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "I didn't want
it to look real Northwest," Ray says. "I wanted an Asian look, a European
look." . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . Not only does the trapezoidal roof
shape and cascading ridgeline lend a pagoda quality, the roofs are modular
and can be removed. In fact, the whole coop easily disassembles. Ray trained
as a draftsman at an all-boys British military school and is now a photography
instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle. He designed the cottage compound
in his head and built it with daughter Robin in about a week's worth of
time spread over a couple months. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "I have
no idea how much it cost, and don't care," he says. "Chickens could care
less. But if you're going to have them as pets, it's not much of a leap
to make their habitat something you can enjoy looking at that becomes
part of the architecture of the yard, rather than an old doghouse." . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . Chicken owner Ann Fittante claims she would've been happy
with a modest shelter for her three banties: Fennel, Ruby-The-Rescue-Chicken
and Little Richard, a black hen with silky feathered feet. But the coop's
architect, Ara Tripp, became inspired during construction when Fittante
mentioned the Tilth Coop Tour. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Now, I'm
obligated by my vanity to do something spectacular," Tripp said. She tore
down the glorified (yet humble) dog house she'd started and laid a six-sided
pedestal as a foundation. From that rose a clapboard gazebo made of
wood liberated from dumpsters. . . . . . . . . . "The great challenge,"
she said, "was building up the walls without making the structure look
too thick." Tripp ripped all the slats by hand. The coop is 5 feet across
and 6 feet high at its peak. It has three laying boxes and a back door
that opens to an airy 8-by-8-foot pen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "I
wanted the pen so you can service and clean it without having to stoop,"
Tripp says. "If you want to bond with your chickens, you shouldn't have
to stoop." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Artistically, the architect's
goal was to unite three woodworking styles and three colors in harmonious
conversation. The fish-scale siding cascades from a shingled roof offset
with wide trim, beveled at 30-degree angles. The boards are painted a trio
of blue-gray tones and the trim is traditional white. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . Total cost of materials: $65. Tripp figures she'd normally
charge $500 for labor on such a project. (She was so buoyed by the work,
she gave Fittante a deep discount.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . Sleek lines and brilliant design innovations are the hallmarks of the
modern tri-level condo built by Dave and Pam Gronbeck for their Black Australorp
and two Rhode Island Reds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tucked unobtrusively
under the deck of their 1907 bungalow, the mostly cedar coop has an angular
asymmetry reminiscent of '70s cathedral-style ski condominiums. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . At the main entrance, double-folding doors open wide
enough to move in a chicken-sized grand piano. Despite the ample scale,
the abode has a friendly rather than imposing face because of the door's
kite-shaped windows.. . ..
. . . . . . . Windows abound. The coop is sited to take advantage of afternoon
sun through screened windows and minimize windy, wet weather from the south,
where light floods in through paned clerestory windows. Portholes ring
the home to promote healthy cross-ventilation. The cupola penthouse encourages
the birds to stretch their wings for fresh air and also affords a territorial
view. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside, five different perches rise
in varying heights and textures, including white PVC piping, which is soft
underfoot and easy to clean. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other thoughtful
touches include scalloped soffits, a solid brass latch and generous use
of old-growth lumber (salvaged from the owners' kitchen). A laying ledge
and food and water box are conveniently set at waist level so you can feed
the chickens and gather eggs by simply flipping open a hatch door. Food
and water dangle above the floor, in buckets, to prevent the hens from
soiling their meals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "People think it's silly
to do something like this," Pam Gronbeck says. "But I think if animals
are going to be penned in an area, they should be comfortable. They're
part of our family." . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . One day, Jeff Stein looked at Margaret Kramer and said, "We should
have chickens, y'know." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . She said, "Yeah,
you do it, and fine with me." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He built a
coop but it wasn't good enough, too small for Rosie, Big Mama and Mary.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Margaret said, "That's not human." . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff: "I know. I gotta build a bigger coop." .
. . . . . . . . . The coop's tall false front has swinging saloon doors,
a tar-paper overhang (for shade at high noon!) and, on each floor, two
decoupage windows trimmed in barn red. The windows offer glimpses of chickens
in shadowy silhouette, shades half drawn. (Margaret is an artist as well
as a social worker.) Humans enter the roomy coop through a 3/4-sizedoor
marked LADIES. Inside, there's a framed print of a rooster. . . . . . .
. .. . . . . . . He went to Second Use, an architectural salvage place
near South Park, and bought an old gray fence for $50. He cut off the
ground rot, turned the fence upside-down, and suddenly, it all came together:
A Wild West Saloon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Wild West theme is
echoed in a miniature saloon feeder and a covered screened porch annex
made from salvaged materials. At night, a timed light in the coop gives
the saloon a cozy glow that Jeff and Margaret can see from their 1908 farmhouse.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The whimsical hen house is set under tall
locust trees on a street with its own Wild West history. Until 10 years
ago, the street — within clucking distance of the I-90 lid — was still
dirt road. Five years ago, it was home to a horse. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . Now it has three chickens. "Imagine the coop in a dusty town,"
Stein says. "The chickens are strolling along, swaggering around, a duel
at noon. They hang out, they chill out, they cross the street."
|"Dear Katy...As another chicken addict and a 4-H poultry leader, I really appreciated running across your site this a.m. - very well done, helpful info and inspiring! Thanks!" ---- L.F., South Beach, Oregon.||"Dear Katy, I stumbled onto your website the other day and loved it...Keep updating your website, it's great...and a big help for folks beginning their flocks! Thanks," ---- C.P., Carmel, CA|
| . . .
. Following article from http://www.al.com/specialreport/mobileregister/?chickens.html,
Chickens are useful pets...............written by BILL FINCH, Environment
Editor of the Mobile Register newspaper of Alabama ...............It may
now be safe to tell you that I have chickens. In the big city. In the deepest,
darkest heart of Mobile. I'm telling you this now because I believe
it's time for urban chicken raisers everywhere to come out of the closet
let the rest of the world know what they've been missing all these years.
...............I have chickens not only because it is the destiny and ambition
of every Finch to have a small home flock, just like Grandma did so many
years ago in Mobile, but also because I've discovered that home-raised
are an indispensable part of my garden, and their exceptionally rich
eggs are an invaluable addition to my diet. ......
.........They're much quieter (and make less of a mess) than my dogs,
they're much less trouble than my finicky cats, and I've grown rather fond
of them, as often happens when people are around chickens for any length
of time. ...............I suspect many of you have briefly considered keeping
a little Easter chick as a pet, but assumed that it was illegal to do so
in the big city. ...............True, some cities, like Fairhope, ban chickens
altogether, for whatever threat to public safety they may pose there. ...............But
older, long-settled communities like Mobile -- communities that grew up
with chickens, that are familiar enough with the habits of chickens to
know they're no more a threat to the public than the jays, cardinals and
other birds we tolerate and even encourage around our homes -- have always
allowed home flocks, with some minor restrictions (in Mobile, a homeowner
can have 25 hens within the confines of his yard, though roosters are forbidden
if the neighbors complain). ...............The trouble with chickens :
...............But why would anyone want to have chickens as backyard pets?
...............Well, why wouldn't you? They are more easily trained than
a cat, have a lot more personality than a cocker spaniel, and many home-grown
birds are quite affectionate, seeking out their human owners for a sign
of attention or a back rub. ...............The five cochin bantams I used
to have followed me around the yard like a pack of puppies, crawling in
my lap and clucking until I delivered another worm. .......
........One of them, Danielle, was brought inside in a cat carrier for
a few nights to recuperate from a mauling by an opossum. She remains insistent
that the cat carrier is her bedroom, and if we don't come fetch her at
dusk, she climbs out of her coop, waddles across the yard, and knocks at
the back door until we let her in. (It was Danielle who posed so patiently
for the pictures in this article: I believe I could train her to fetch,
if I saw any purpose in doing so.) ...............Many people keep chickens
just because they're beautiful, as pretty as some of the rare, exotic
birds we snatch directly from South American jungles. It's hard to imagine
a bird with more exotic and colorful foliage than the old English game
or Dutch bantams, though some will prefer the checkerboard pattern of the
Dominiques, the unusual baked gold of the Sicilian buttercups, or the lustrous
blue-black of a proud Andalusian. ...............But
it's the irony of modern life that chickens are sometimes disparaged
as pets because they're so -- well -- useful. ...............In this
modern world, the more verifiably useless an animal is, the better chance
it has of being accepted widely as a pet. Working dogs never seem to enjoy
much popularity until the American Kennel Club manages to turn them into
neurotic living room ornaments (no, I don't mean to single out golden retrievers
or chocolate labs). Modern cats have no responsibilities in their households,
and take none for the capricious damage they do. ...............Somehow,
it's socially acceptable to watch a bored turtle making desperate circles
in a glass bowl for its entire existence. It's OK to have a squawking
pair of parakeets that have no purpose in life but to scatter seed all
over the kitchen floor. We even seem to prefer useless gardens: An azalea
in your yard is fine, no matter how ragged it looks, but as soon as neighbors
find out that those beautiful reddish-green leaves in your front bed are
actually edible heads of lettuce, they're going to call the garden police.
...............And so the chicken has this terrible strike against it:
It is so invariably, so incontrovertibly, useful. ...............It's
not just that some folks eat chickens fairly regularly, and don't like
coming face to face with the creatures they consume. Lots of people eat
fish, too, but there's no great prejudice against keeping fish. ...............What
makes the chicken an especially suspicious pet is that nearly every aspect
of its life is useful to its owner. ...............Chickens, for example,
are the most terrifying weeders you could ever employ. Whenever I have
a section of the yard that is a hopeless tangle of blackberries and rough
grasses, I leave my chickens to scratch it up. Within a few days, it's
tilled and ready for planting, with not a weed, seed or root in sight (take
note, those who complain about rattlesnake root). ...............And they
leave it nicely fertilized, too. Chicken fertilizer, as you probably know,
is ideal for vegetable and flower gardens. It doesn't foster the kind of
human diseases that dog and cat poop can, it has a nice balance of nutrients,
and unlike cow or horse manure, it doesn't contain a lot of weed seeds.
The chickens till it into the ground just right, so there's no odor. ...............A
yard with chickens, I'll have to confess, is going to be almost completely
devoid of pesky bugs like ticks and palmetto bugs. Chickens are voracious
insect eaters, and I turn them out into the overmature vegetable garden
to clean up the armyworms and cutworms, the Mexican bean beetles and the
could tell you horror stories about how quickly a few scratching chickens
can make rich compost of a pile of leaves, how adept chickens are at
finding grubs, mole crickets and termite tunnels, how good collards and
tomatoes taste when grown in chicken-fed soil. ..... ..........But
nothing about a backyard chicken's usefulness will offend modern sensibilities
more than the bird's propensity for producing eggs. Not just any eggs,
but the most alarmingly flavorful eggs you'll ever eat, a hundred or more
per bird per year. ...............I should warn you, yard eggs taste nothing
like grocery store eggs. There's a rich, almost buttery taste to a good
yard egg. You'll notice the taste fried, scrambled or souffled. You'll
detect the difference in your casseroles, your cornbread, your eggnogs,
your homemade custard ice cream. ...............And then there's the color
of the yard egg's yolk. It'll take some getting used to if you've grown
accustomed to the pale yellow grocery store variety. ...............I knew
cooks when I was growing up who would drive miles to get fresh yard eggs
for their cakes. The deep orange yolks of the yard eggs were the secret
ingredient in your grandmother's golden pound cakes; those anemic grocery
store eggs you're using are why your pound cake has never come close. ...............And
wouldn't you know it, it's the infernal usefulness of the yard chicken
that makes its eggs so sought after. The deep orange color, the rich flavor
-- you'll only get that from chickens allowed to scratch their way through
the weeds, bugs and sunshine of a back yard. Commercially raised chickens
never come in contact with good earth, and their eggs are as bland and
colorless as their processed feed diet. .
Ah, country life : ...............The irony is, if you want the taste of
the country life that only chickens can afford, you'll have a hard time
finding it in the new communities that have recently sprawled over the
countryside. ...............Many of these communities are quite explicit
in their rejection of chickens. ...............Fairhope and Daphne residents,
for example, will have to entertain themselves with less useful animals
like dogs, cats, cobras, tigers or wolves: Animal control officers say
these aren't prohibited, but under no circumstance may you keep a chicken
in those cities. In Gulf Shores, to take the most extreme case, they apparently
want you to have anything other than your poodle, your puss and your pension
fund. ...............Oddly enough, it's the older, more settled cities
that seem to be more appreciative of the merits of having useful household
animals like chickens. Even Alabama's richest community, Mountain Brook,
seems to have no problems with keeping chickens as pets. ...............Mountain
Brook, as many older communities do, makes all birds subject to the same
laws that govern the keeping of dogs and cats: Their cages and pens must
be clean; they aren't allowed to roam freely on neighbor's properties;
and loud, incessant barking, crowing and caterwauling is prohibited by
the city's noise ordinances, regardless of the type of animal that produces
it. ...............Instead of regulating chickens, Mountain Brook's city
council decided it was more important to prohibit the keeping of non-domestic
animals like raccoons, cougars, and bears, animal control officers say.
(Don't laugh: You'd be surprised at the animals lurking, quite legally,
in some back yards.) ...............There's really no threat of someone
slyly turning a back yard into a for-profit chicken factory. Cities that
want to discourage the willy-nilly for-profit production of chickens will
find that the possibility has already been stamped out by tough food laws
that require elaborate equipment and permits for those who sell eggs and
meat. ...............So why are chickens singled out in the newer, fast-growing
bedroom communities like Daphne and Fairhope? ...............Perhaps, having
so recently escaped their rural status, these communities feel a
need to work extra hard to prove that they are not just a country crossroads
anymore. A chicken may remind residents that they are only a generation
removed from the rural life of their Alabama grandmothers. ...............The
gated rural suburbs, with their extensive lists of covenant do's and don'ts,
are even more restrictive than the new cities. ...............So there's
good reason to believe that the last stronghold of home chicken-raising
in Alabama might be in its older city centers, where most neighbors are
sophisticated enough to cultivate a small-town atmosphere, sharing sugar,
mild gossip and fresh eggs across the fence. ...............At least that's
the way it is in the older neighborhoods of my big small town of Mobile.
There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of bird owners -- some rich and well-known,
some just getting by -- within the city limits. You'd never really know
the birds were there, unless you were lucky enough to be given some eggs.
...............But as a local bird lover points out, it's telling that
one of the last grocery stores in Mobile to carry a wide selection of chicken
feeds is Namans, on the edge of downtown. And sometimes, when the deafening
roar of commuter traffic headed for the rural suburbs subsides, you can
hear, softly in the distance, a hen cackling proudly over her fresh-laid
|The following article was printed in the
Jan. 8th, 2013 issue of The Oregonian. Afowl of the Law: A ban on chickens
forces a Gresham resident to give up her brood. By Nancy Woods. Is Gresham
ahead of or behind the times when it comes to raising chickens in the city?
Is Portland more chicken friendly? Until recently, Jan Apland-Curtis, a
Gresham resident, had five hens and one rooster in her yard but a complaint
from a neighbor meant that she had to find a new home for her rooster and
two hens. Apland-Curtis didn't even mean to have a rooster. She thought
all her original chicks were female. By the time it became obvious one
was a rooster, he'd become a beloved member of the family. "We raised him
from a chick and were all attached to him," said Apland-Curtis, a nutritionist
for Multnomah County who lives with her husband and two sons. "He was our
favorite chicken and we thought we would try to make it work." By giving
up the rooster along with his two favorite hens, Apland-Curtis hoped the
problem would be solved, that she wouldn't hear anything further from the
city of Gresham.
After all, it was the rooster who made the most noise. But one day she
and her family returned from a camping trip to find a notice from the city
of Gresham telling her she had two weeks to get rid of the remaining chickens,
too. To Apland-Curtis it didn't make sense. "Most cities allow chickens,"
she said, "so why not Gresham? Gresham used to be farmland." Besides, she
said, chickens aren't that smelly and they're quieter than dogs.
"We get a chicken complaint at least twice a week," said Jody Sandstrom,
code enforcement program manager for the city of Gresham. Sandstrom said
he and his staff look at things on a case-by-case basis and try to make
sure they "take care of not only the person making the complaint but also
the violator, so they understand why they need to remove the chickens or
poultry." According to current code, chickens are not allowed in Gresham
unless they are grandfathered in, which means they have to have been on
the property before 1992 when the current code went into effect. In addition,
if you do have chickens, they must be kept at least 100 feet from any structure,
including your neighbor's house. Development is one reason that Sandstrom
is receiving so many chicken calls. If a new subdivision wraps around a
piece of property, he said, that enclosed land falls into the new subdivision
regulations, so its owner may have to remove any chickens. "Each time we
annex anything," he said, and "start taking in the farm land, it has a
major impact on what we do." When development takes place, he said, new
residents find themselves "next door to people who are raising pigs, chickens,
goats. That's the kind of complaints we're getting into." The problem is
also cultural. In some countries, city chickens are quite common. "Russians
and Laotians and Hispanics - it's normal to do in their country," Sandstrom
said, "but in the United States you can't." Well, not in Gresham anyway
- where you can have a pot-bellied pig. " Pot-bellied
pigs are okay because they're considered a pet," Sandstrom said. What
has come to be called the pot-bellied pig exemption was added onto the
development code during what Sandstrom refers to as the "pot-bellied pig
phenomenon." Citizens petitioned the planning department to make the changes.
Could a chicken exemption be added in the same way? "That's a possibility,"
Sandstrom said. Citizens "have the right to petition for a code change
and run it through process." Meanwhile, not far from Apland-Curtis's chicken-less
house, Jude Foster is raising seven layers on her Southeast Portland lot.
"Chickens are great," she said. "They're organic. They're real peaceful.
They're a simple, urban-friendly way of living more naturally. They
do this circle -- they give you eggs, they give you manure, they eat scraps.
I love them." Even for a busy person like Foster, who is director of Harmony
Montessori in Portland, raising chickens is very doable. "They don't need
a lot of time and attention," she said, "Once you get them set up, "they're
very low maintenance." They don't have to smell, either. "If you're
careful and take good care of your chickens," Foster said, "there's nothing
to offend. They're pleasant to have around. The secret to keeping a clean
chicken coop is to divide the area where they roost from where they walk."
When it comes to smelly chickens in Multnomah County, Dave Thomson is the
man to call. Thomson is the code enforcement officer for Multnomah County.
In Portland, chickens are considered specified animals, along with ducks,
rabbits and pygmy goats. A total of three or less of any of those animals
is allowed. More than three and a one-time $31 permit is required. Because
of the noise they make, roosters are not allowed. . . .
. .Since July 2003, Thomson's department has received 63 chicken- and rooster-related
complaints. "It's mainly a tossup between odor and sanitary concerns,"
Thomson said, although there have also been a number of calls about chickens
getting loose. That was the case on a recent day in November when Thomas
visited several Portland homes to follow up on chicken and rooster complaints.
At one, pigeons, chickens and a rooster had wandered into the street. At
another, chickens had escaped and gotten into a neighbor's yard. Whatever
the complaint, Thomson tries to resolve it peacefully. "My particular style
is to resolve it on a friendly neighborly basis. I'm not the heavy
handed type." If someone is defiant or stubborn, he said, his department
will issue a warning notice that includes information on what animals are
allowed and an explanation of the permit process. If the resident doesn't
comply, a fine of $100 per day can be imposed for each day in violation.
According to Thomson, in the future the permit fee may be raised though
he couldn't say exactly when or by how much. Meanwhile, he enjoys the problem-solving
aspects of his job. "A lot of times people don't realize that there is
somebody who takes care of these types of problems," he said. "It's kind
of fun to resolve neighborhood conflicts. When they finally discover us
and they get results it's very satisfying. I take great satisfaction and
pride in taking care of this." Jude Foster hasn't had any complaints from
her neighbors and obviously enjoys her hens, which represent several breeds:
Ameracauna, Silver-laced Wyandotte, Golden sex-link, Barred Rock, Rhode
Island Red and New Hampshire Red. She gives them nicknames like Lemon,
Maya and Henny Penny and appreciates the four to six eggs a day they provide.
"They're interesting," she said, "and entertaining. It's fun to watch them
scratch around. They have different personalities." One of hers is timid
while another jumps up to get fed. But they're not your typical pet. Foster's
hens, for instance, don't like to be picked up. "They're not mammals,"
she said. They don't adore their owners or anything like that. They're
not super tame. . .
. .They have their own life." A spoiled life, as it turns out. Foster lets
her hens run loose in her yard where they peck and scratch and rid the
area of slugs. She feeds them organic feed and built them an elaborate
coop that includes a special egg-laying room with curtain and pull-open
roof for retrieval, roosting and walking areas, and special back door for
removal of droppings. Outside, the hens have a generous, hay-strewn space
in which to walk about. The only thing that would be nicer than their comfortable
coop, Foster said, would be roaming free in the country. "This is luxurious.
This is a chicken palace," she said. In contrast, Katy
Skinner prides herself on being a practical chicken fancier. She likes
to build coops "on the cheap." She's made at least one out of pallet
wood and another out of a dog kennel. Right now, her six chickens live
in an old storage shed to which she applied some paint. Skinner, a stay-at-home
mom, lives with her husband and two young sons on a quarter-acre lot in
East Portland where she raises several kinds of hens - Ameraucana (also
known as Easter egg chickens), Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington and Australorp.
All together the hens produce between three and four eggs a day. Skinner
likes being practical. Even as a child growing up on three acres
in Sandy, Skinner viewed the family chickens as "infinitely practical.
They give you eggs. They are a pet that gives you something back." As an
adult she finds them compatible with raising her children -- son Bert helps
gather the eggs -- and easier to have than a dog which, she explained,
you have to entertain and take to obedience class. "Chickens are much less
demanding," Skinner said. Once you get the coop set up, "they're kind of
self sustaining." There is a downside to having chickens. Every so often
Skinner has had to euthanize a sick chicken. And, even in the city, there's
an on-going problem with predators. "People will swear they don't have
raccoon or hawks," Skinner said "but the second you have chickens they'll
come out of the woodwork. The hawks come swooping down.
I've had raccoons eat my chickens, dogs eat my chickens and hawks try to
get my chickens." Suggestions on how to build a predator-safe coop and
lots of other advice on raising urban chickens can be found on Skinner's
fun, friendly, photo-filled and, yes, practical website www.thecitychicken.com.
She started the website 10 years ago and now gets 500 hits a day from across
the country and as far away as England and Australia. People contact Skinner
through her website to ask her questions about chickens. Some wonder whether
urban chickens are pets. "They can be thought of livestock or pets,"
Skinner said. "They bridge the gap. My particular chickens aren't that
pet-like. They're more livestock-like." To encourage a chicken to be a
pet, Skinner said, "All you have to do is handle them a lot from when they
are baby chicks." Other website visitors reveal a common misunderstanding
when it comes to the relationship between hens, roosters, chickens and
eggs. "People forget their basic high school biology," Skinner said. They
don't realize that you don't have to have a rooster in order to get
eggs. Eggs in the store are from hens that will never see a rooster
in their life, she explained. Only if you want to have baby chicks do you
need a rooster Meanwhile, Apland-Curtis would just like to have her chickens
back. "I miss their little personalities," she said, "how they would run
out to you when you go out to the yard, to get a handout." Her rooster
and chickens now live on a small Corbett farm run by a woman Apland-Curtis
knows. Fortunately, Apland-Curtis and her family have visitation rights.
They're welcome to stop by the farm anytime without notice to check on
their chickens. "We've been out several times to see the chickens and have
a little visit and bring them some cracked corn because they really like
that," Apland-Curtis said. "It's a little chicken treat." Does she hope
to once again raise chickens in Gresham? "I don't want to get in trouble
with the city again," she said. "If the codes change and it becomes acceptable,
I would love to have chickens again." Nancy Woods is an Oregon writer who
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toronto Star newspaper . . . . . BACKYARD
FARMING . . . . . TheStar.com | GTA | Poultry in motion: Chickens adopting
urban lifestyle . . . . . RON BULL/TORONTO STAR . . . . . . . GETTING TO
KNOW YOUR GALLIFORMES . . . . . . . Hoping to raise a few chickens in your
Toronto backyard? Wondering what you can and can't do? . . . . . . The
City of Toronto lays it all out on its website (cityoftoronto.ca) but you
may want to consult a book of taxonomy before you start looking. . . .
. . . . .The website has a convenient Frequently Asked Questions section
on animals, where it promises information on chickens, pigeons, exotic
animals and more in Chapter 349-2 of the Toronto Municipal Code. But once
you get there, you won't find the word chicken or poultry mentioned anywhere.
. . . . . . Clicking on Schedule A brings up a long list of prohibited
animals. Proboscidae (elephants) and Viverridae (which include mongooses)
are banned. So are Perissodactyla (horses, donkeys, jackasses, mules).
Under birds there are Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans, screamers), Struthioniformes
(flightless ratites such as ostriches, rheas, cassowaries, emus, kiwis)
and Galliformes (such as pheasants, grouse, guineafowls, turkeys) . . .
. . . Chickens, though not named, belong to the Galliformes scientific
order and are prohibited. . . . . . . Other jurisdictions . . . . . . Victoria,
B.C. is one of the few cities in Canada where it is legal to keep chickens.
They may be kept as pets and for egg production, though the eggs may not
be sold. Roosters are banned. The bylaw doesn't limit the number of chickens,
but an "excessive" number "will bring into question intended use." . .
. . . . . The Niagara Falls, Ont., bylaw is more specific: A maximum
of 10 chickens; coops must be at the backyard, 7.6 metres from the rear
property line and 4.6 metres from the side lot line. Roosters are banned.
The coop must allow for proper ventilation and for movement of chickens
in keeping with good animal husbandry practices. . . . .
. In New York City, poultry and rabbits are allowed by permit
under the city's Health Code. They must be kept in coops and runs, which
must be whitewashed or similarly treated once a year. The coops and runs
must be kept clean. . . .. . . You can raise them in New York but not here.
Toronto locavores are hoping to change that . . . . . May 04, 2008 04:30
AM . . . . . .Leslie Scrivener . . . . . . Toronto Star . . . . . . It's
an idyllic scene in a sunny backyard in North Toronto. The forsythia is
bright as springtime, and Sally, Heidi and Clucky wander by contentedly.
They are plump, vigorous, egg-laying hens that, despite their beauty and
utility, are illegal in Toronto. . . . . . . Nonetheless, their owner has
kept them quietly in her backyard coop through the winter and now lets
them range freely in the yard, which is shallow but 15 metres wide. . .
. . . . ."It makes total sense to me, rather than getting in the car,
driving to the grocery store and buying eggs trucked in from a far away
farm, to go to the back yard and get eggs," says "Alice," who asked
that her real name not be used. A middle-aged mother of two teenagers who
works at home in the food business, she had identified herself on the telephone
as a "renegade" chicken owner. "Besides, I know they are healthy and what
they've eaten." . . . . . . . . Toronto bylaws forbid keeping poultry,
for health reasons. On the other hand, pigeons raised for sport are allowed,
provided they rest, roost or perch only on their owner's property. . .
. . . . Oddly, by raising a few chickens in the city, Alice is in step
with a do-it-yourself food movement that is thriving in cities like New
York, Portland, Chicago and Seattle. It's legal to keep chickens in those
cities and dozens more in the United States.
. . . . . . . Increasingly, urbanites concerned about about food miles and safety are pushing their local governments to be more flexible about backyard livestock. Websites, including backyardchickens.com and TheCityChicken.com, offer direction and inspiration to city farmers. When Elaine Belanger launched the first issue of her magazine Backyard Poultry in 2006, she had 15,000 copies printed, which proved to be not nearly enough. "People kept asking for them," she says from Eau Claire, Wis. "Now we have 50,000 paid subscribers. It's truly beyond what we were expecting." . . . . . . . . She believes the interest has been spurred by post-9/11 fears, recent scares about E. coli in meat, and distrust of additives in food. "People want a little bit of control." . . . . . . Closer to home, Waterloo city council recently agreed to study a proposal from Matthew Bailey-Dick and a new organization he had formed, the Waterloo Hen Association. "We didn't want to quietly do our own thing on our property," says Bailey-Dick, a Mennonite peace educator and father of three young children who doesn't yet raise chickens. "This is a community issue and an opportunity to realize they can contribute to practical food security. . . . . . . . "There are broader issues ... food prices going up, global warming and environmental sustainability, which one family cannot solve." . . . . . . Here in Toronto, it's not known just how many residents keep chickens in their backyards. One recent afternoon, Alice's birds cluck pleasantly as they peck and hunt in the grass."They're in chicken heaven, since the weather's been nice and we've been letting them out of their coop," she says. Their coop, a U.S. product called an "Eglu," is made from stylish moulded plastic, includes a wire run, and sells for about $500. . . . . . . . Alice has launched an online forum at torontochickens.com, which includes a petition asking Toronto to update its bylaw to allow residents to responsibly raise chickens in the city. . . . . . She contends there are worse sources of city noise than a few chickens. During an interview with the Toronto Star, she noted a plane flying overhead and a roaring leaf blower across the street. She's an environmentalist interested in living sustainably. . . . . . . . "Properties are mainly used to grow grass," she says, "and we use our drinking water to water grass, and pesticides to get rid of bugs and weeds, and chemicals to fertilize the grass, and then we collect leaves and put them in bags when they could be used for mulch and as a good source of carbon for the compost." . . . . . . .Alice also subscribes to the "locavore" movement, which includes growing your own food or buying only food raised locally. She grows garlic, alpine strawberries, sorrel and other herbs in her front garden. She worries about contaminants in food and about factory-farm production and the resulting runoff from manure. She uses her chicken manure as a resource, a source of nitrogen in the garden. . . . . . Matthew Bailey-Dick of Waterloo and his wife, Nina, would like to raise a few chickens on their 18- by 49-metre property in Waterloo. They already have a large garden and preserve or freeze a lot of their harvest. . . . . . . Waterloo doesn't have a bylaw regulating chickens, and after Bailey-Dick's presentation April 21, council agreed to review and update its animal control bylaw. . . . . . . . In recent months, two families in Halifax have had to give up their chickens because of complaints from neighbours – one over a noisy rooster and the other claiming chickens were attracting rats. Those chicken owners are calling for bylaw amendments. Meanwhile, in Chicago, there's been an uproar since councillors tried to amend a bylaw in order to ban chickens last December. In the interests of keeping the peace, they've decided to review the regulations. . . . . . . Christie Young, director of Guelph-based FarmStart, an organization that supports new farmers, is confident that small-scale poultry production can work in the city. Bylaws can limit the number of birds and the minimum distance from a neighour's property, she says. Owners would be responsible for chicken waste, just as citizens are for waste from their pets, and required to build coops strong enough to keep chickens in and predators out. . . . . . . . (In Niagara Falls, for example, rules for keeping chickens include minimum property size of 30 by 12 metres, no more than 10 chickens per yard and no roosters.) . . . . . . York University graduate student Carolyn Young, who has written a research paper on raising chickens in the city, says giving it the green light in Toronto could be "a very smooth process ... "it works in (other cities) in North America and it works in other countries." . . . . . Still, she noted, there is the problem of attitude. "There continues to be a mindset that chickens are dirty, a nuisance and disorderly when kept in the city." . . . . . . . Keeping backyard chickens was more common in Toronto a generation ago, especially among immigrant families from Portugal and Italy. But concerns about public health and the possibility of disease being spread by chickens led to a change in the bylaw in 1983, recalls deputy mayor Joe Pantalone. "It was a big debate, and I was on the losing side. I was of the view that allowing the farm to be part of the city is part of the holistic solution ... . . . "Rabbits were spared because somebody brought in a cuddly little thing to the committee meeting. Pigeons were a bit tricky. If they were kept for food, they were banned, but they were allowed for sport." . . . . . . . Pantalone, councillor in Ward 19, says the time is right to take another look at the bylaw. "But it doesn't make sense to keep chickens on the balcony of your condominium. However, there's something to be said if you have a big back yard abutting a ravine where you keep a limited number of animals in clean condition." . . . . . . . Chickens are banned in Toronto because they are considered farm animals. "Because of the urbanized environment and the density of houses, farm animals are not appropriate and not allowed," says Fiona Venedam, supervisor of Toronto animal services, north. . . . . . However, there are a few places in the city, including parts of Scarborough near the zoo, that are zoned agricultural and where chickens are permitted. . . . . . . Each year, there are only a few complaints about chickens being kept in the city. Violators face a $240 fine. Recently in a west downtown ward, however, there have been complaints about people barbecuing pigeons. "If only they were looking for people who are raising pigeons, I would turn my neighbour over without hesitation," one west-end resident wrote in response to a Star inquiry. . . . . . .Rhonda Teitel-Payne, urban agriculture manager for The Stop Community Food Centre, says there's a perception problem about raising food in a place like Toronto – "the city is 100-per-cent toxic and the country is 100-per-cent clean." That view is changing as people turn their minds to roof-top gardening, boards of education reopen greenhouses in local schools, and residents try to secure plots in community gardens which, she says, is difficult. "It's very hard to do, we are inundated with requests." . . . . . Free-range eggs are the first things to sell out at farmers' markets, she adds. . . . . . "The demand is there, and people are getting to the point where they say, 'I'm going to try and do something myself.' " . . . . . . Back in North Toronto, Alice's three birds cluck soothingly in the backyard. Each bird lays an egg a day – actually, one every 26 hours. Today's offerings, in muted shades of brown, are sitting prettily in a small straw basket sitting on the patio table.
farms come to roost in Portland Metro . . . From: http://blog.oregonlive.com/homes-rentals/2011/05/urban_farms_come_to_roost_in_p.html
. . . . . . . . . .Published: Saturday, May 07, 2013, 12:00
PM . . . . . .Special to The Oregonian By MICHELLE
TRAPPEN, SPECIAL WRITER to The Oregonian. . . . . . . . . .
. . .When Alex and Moriah Berthrong bought their Canby house four years
ago, they wanted a large backyard where their children could play, and
they could grow organic vegetables. . . . . . . . . . . . .But soon
after moving in, the couple read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” by Michael
Pollan, and they watched the movie, “Food, Inc.” What they learned
about the animal product industry horrified them, and ultimately motivated
them to raise their own chickens — both for eggs and for consumption. .
. . . . . . . . . . .“We did not like how inhumanely chickens are treated,
just so we are able to buy cheap eggs,” Moriah says. “We both like to
cook and bake. Raising our own chickens is something we can do.” .
. . . . . The family was part of the first wave of a growing number
of homeowners who, for a variety of reasons, have transformed their
urban and suburban lots into mini farms of sorts, complete with laying
hens, vegetable gardens and sometimes even a goat or pot-bellied pig.
. . . . . .
. . . . . .A sagging economy, concern over food sources and a rural revival
all have fueled this uptick in home-grown everything — creating a bonus
situation for buyers wanting urban property endowed with farm-like amenities.
. . . . . . . . . . . .Kelli Thompson, director of communications with
the Oregon Association of Realtors, says her organization doesn’t track
statistics on such trends. But Realtors such as Early say they’ve definitely
a spike in listed homes that feature gardens, coops and anything else “Old
McDonald”-like. . . . . . . . . . . . .“People want a simpler life
that involves getting their hands in the soil,” says Early, adding that
the downturned economy allows buyers to afford bigger lots, or even acreage.
“People want to be able to monitor their own food source, and know exactly
what they’re putting into their bodies. . . . . . . . . . . . .Cities nationwide
and locally have scrambled to keep step with the trend. Vocal homeowners
have demanded city leaders revise ordinances to permit hen ownership
on lots as small as 5,000 square feet. Portland, for instance, allows three
hens per backyard coop; Beaverton allows four hens, and Hillsboro allows
three to nine hens, depending on lot size ($25 animal permit required).
Most cities require chicken pens be located a specific distance from neighbors.
. . . . . .
. . . . . .Roosters, however — which can be loud and aggressive — continue
to be banned within most city limits, but are typically allowed on acreage
outside Portland’s urban growth boundary. . . . . . . . . . . . .Urban
chickens have become so popular they’ve ignited a slew of websites, businesses
and events, including the The City Chicken, blogged
by Katy Skinner of Yacolt, Wash. (thecitychicken.com); Portland-based
“Just Us Hens,” specializing in chicken consultations and even chicken
sitting (justushens.com); and an annual “Tour de Coops” in Portland, this
year scheduled for Saturday, July 16 (www.growing-gardens.org/portland-gardening-resources/chickens.php).
. . . . . . . . . . . .Real estate listings don’t always promote coops
or gardens, but Early says prospective buyers often gush when they see
properties blessed with such features. . . . . . . . . . . . .The Berthrongs
have such a property. Moriah, who home-schools their four children, uses
the family garden and chicken coop both as a teaching tool and as a means
to grow sustainable food. Alex, a veterinarian, also schools the children
on animal husbandry. . . . . . . . . . . . .Along with raspberries and
blueberries, the family has grown carrots, artichokes, tomatoes, zucchini
and spaghetti squash on their quarter-acre of land. Post-harvest, they
allow their chickens to roam the garden, eat spoilage, and blanket the
soil with nutrient-rich manure. . . . . . . . . . . . .Brandon and Travis
Berthrong, ages 11 and 9 respectively, feed the chickens, clean the pen
and — when chickens are old enough to lay — collect seven to nine eggs
daily. The boys stock the family’s refrigerator, and sell the surplus
to neighbors for $3 a dozen. . . . . . .“It’s how they earn their spending
money,” Moriah says. . . . . . . . . . . . .The Berthrongs just recently
started raising “broilers” for slaughter and consumption. Moriah says that
she and Alex prepped the children by explaining that homegrown chicken
meat is healthier, and that it provides needed nourishment. . . . . . .
. . . . . .“The children handled the situation well,” Moriah says. “I think
I had the stronger reaction. I felt like the chicken should be prepared
in some special way, as a way of honoring the fact that it gave us its
life.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“We love this lifestyle,”
Moriah says. “We want even more land so the children can raise more animals,
and learn more about sustainable living.” . . . . . . . . . . .
.Michelle Trappen is a Portland-based freelance writer who can be reached
. . . . . . . . Longmont considers legalizing residential chickens . .
. . One couple drives push to allow backyard hens . . . . . By Vanessa
Miller . . . . . Monday, November 10, 2013 . . . . . . Plenty of people
living in Longmont keep chickens in their backyards. . . . . . . Trouble
is, right now, all of them are doing so illegally, and when chicken-related
complaints trickle in, the owners are forced to give up their pets, said
Ben Ortiz, a Longmont city planner. . .
. . . Because complaints are minimal and hen lovers want to keep their
animals, Ortiz said, the city is looking at legalizing backyard chickens
in residential areas so poultry owners don’t have to sweat their birds.
A community meeting on the subject is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the
Longmont Public Library, 409 Fourth Ave., Ortiz said. . . . . . .Public
feedback gleaned from that meeting will guide officials in drafting a code
amendment to allow residential hens. Right now, Ortiz said, Longmont
chickens are considered “livestock” and only are allowed in agriculturally
zoned areas. . . . . . Changing the law wouldn’t mean much for many
Longmont chicken-keepers who’ve been doing so quietly for years. But,
Ortiz said, for couples like Tracy Halward and William Baker who’ve been
forced to give up their birds, it would mean a lot. . . . . . . . City
officials recently cried “fowl” on the couple’s hens, which they were keeping
behind their home on Steele Street. Halward and Baker were ticketed and
ordered to get rid of their chickens, even though they insist none of their
neighbors complained, Ortiz said. . . . . . . “The main reason they wanted
the hens is they wanted more control over their food source,” Ortiz said.
. . . . . . At a “coffee with council town meeting,” the couple asked if
the city would consider amending its code to allow them to keep their birds.
Council members passed along the request, and the matter landed on Ortiz’
desk. . . . . . . After doing some research, Ortiz said, his office recommend
amending the city code to allow a limited number of backyard hens in residential
areas, with regulations on how they’re caged and maintained. . . . . .
And, he said, no “front-yard” chickens would be allowed. . . . . . . In
Ortiz’ recommendation, he noted potential positive and negative impacts
of the amendment. On the positive side, he said, legalizing chickens would
reduce the number of animal-control calls. On the negative side, he said,
it might up enforcement calls for unsanitary chicken conditions. . . .
. . . In deciding to recommend legalizing residential chickens, Ortiz said
he researched laws in other cities. He looked at 15 Colorado communities
and found that eight communities allow backyard chickens in residential
zones, including Boulder. . . . . . When he considered other metropolitan
areas outside Colorado like Madison, Wis., and Portland Oregon., Ortiz
said, he was surprised to find that hens were allowed. . . “It’s not as
unusual as people think,” he said. “It doesn’t appear they are, in fact,
just a farm animal.” . . .
. . . Hen regulations in those communities, however, are “all over the
map,” Ortiz said. Madison allows up to four chickens in residential areas,
and no person can slaughter one. Portland allows up to three chickens per
house in residential areas, he said. . . . . . In most communities he researched,
Ortiz said, “roosters are either banned” or regulated through noise or
nuisance ordinances. . . . . . . . Longmont’s code revision probably would
list animals that are allowed and those that aren’t, he said. And it would
limit the number of hens a household could own, and it would probably ban
roosters. . . . . . . Ortiz said his department likely will require predator-proof
chicken coops and set a minimum cage size. He would recommend a nuisance
clause to address noise issues and mandate sanitary standards. . . . .
. Ortiz said his office also would suggest a city ban on slaughtering chickens.
. . . . . Jodie Carroll, spokeswoman for the city of Boulder, said the
city doesn’t have an ordinance on banning chickens. . . . . “We have a
list of exotic animals that are not allowed,” she said. “And chickens are
not on that list.” . . . . . Morgan Poncelet, 26, and Steve Lommele, 28,
bought four chickens to keep at their south Boulder home in March. Pearl,
Mertha, Tayler and Sid began their chicken lives on Lehigh Street in a
metal tub sized right for the chicks, who now live in a large coop, where
they’re fed several times a day and occasionally allowed to fly and run
under the raised porch, Poncelet said. . . . . . The couple bought the
animals because they wanted pets and “liked the idea of raising our own
chickens and growing our own food.” The birds each lay about one egg
every one or two days, and — in the peak season — Poncelet and Lommele
get two to three eggs a day. . . . . . “We usually eat them all,” Poncelet
said. “If we have too many, we find something to make.” . . . . . She said
chickens certainly should be allowed in residential areas “as long as you
have enough space for them.” And, now that the couple has their own egg-making
machines, they can compare stories and recipes with friends in Portland
who also own chickens. . . . . “The eggs in stores usually are about a
month old when they get there,” she said. “I think these taste a lot better.”
|Article from Chicago Tribune. . . . .
. . .Orginal link:
. . . . . . . . Chickens earning their keep in Chicago backyards . . .
. . More urbanites have animals for their eggs, companionship . . . . .
By Sara Olkon - - Tribune reporter . . . . . December 15, 2013 .
. . . . . . Just past a busy intersection in this West Side
a flock of hens softly clucks about the yard, seemingly oblivious to
stares of a nearby alley cat.. . . . .
. . They are "like pets with eggs," said Donna Knezek, who along
with her partner Liz Sharp keeps five hens in a chicken coop outside her
East Garfield Park home. "It's important to know where your food comes
from." . . . . . . Odd as it may sound, it's legal to keep chickens in
Chicago, though slaughtering the animals is prohibited. A year ago, an
alderman from the Southwest Side failed to advance an ordinance banning
the barnyard animals from their city roosts. . . . . . . Since then, the
idea of raising chickens has only become more attractive to urbanites,
"locavores" who like knowing that their plate of eggs came from their own
backyard. The birds also eat bugs and weeds, they happily devour food
scraps such as wilted lettuce and carrot tops, and their manure can be
composted into garden fertilizer. . . . . . Signs of the burgeoning urban
chicken movement include a bimonthly magazine called Backyard Poultry,
which started publishing in 2006, as well as popular Web sites and blogs
including BackyardChickens.com and urbanchickens.net. . . . . . . "It's
exploding all over the country," said Martha Boyd, program director for
Angelic Organics Learning Center in Woodlawn, which offered a workshop
on basic backyard chicken care for Chicago residents last month. . . .
. . . Within 48 hours, the 30-spot workshop had sold out. Angelic plans
to hold another class March 21. . . . . . . . Tom Rosenfeld, one of the
workshop instructors, said he is floored by the amount of interest. . .
. . . "We've finally gone over the top in this corporate food delivery
system." he said. "It's about connecting much closer to [one's] food."
. . . . . An organic apple farmer, Rosenfeld has been keeping hens at his
Rogers Park home for more than three years. But unlike many of the urban
chicken enthusiasts he meets, Rosenfeld does not name the birds. For him,
the birds are not pets. . . . . . "I wanted the eggs," he said. . . . .
. . He appears to be in the minority. Diane Blaszczyk pets her chickens
and lets them jump on her lap. She said her birds "beg like dogs" for
scraps. . . . . . She and her husband, Mark, keep nine hens and a rooster
in the Old Norwood Park neighborhood. In August, when their hens started
laying, they stopped buying eggs from the grocery store. . . . . . "One
of our friends jokes that we are well prepared for the food riots that
are coming," Mark Blaszczyk said. . .
. . Tara Keating and her husband, Frank Geilen, got hooked after visiting
a booth at a street festival in Andersonville last summer. Already committed
to composting, organic gardening and commuting by bike, the idea of raising
chickens just made sense. . . . . . . They now keep four hens—Kippie, Poekie,
Dotty and Pickles—in a coop they installed inside their condominium's garden.
. . . . . Their hens eat only organic feed, about $22 for a 50-pound bag.
chickens themselves are cheap—often as little as a dollar and change apiece—and
can be ordered online. . . . . . Keating estimated that the coop, chicken
wire and feeders cost them about $500. "You are not going to make money,"
she said of the venture. . . . . Non-organic feed is about a third of the
price, and chicken coops can be made for less. Shawn Peek fashioned
one out of cupboards her family found in the alley, plus scrap lumber.
. . . . . . . Her Albany Park family has three hens and a rooster. Peek
thought she had bought four hens, but the birds are hard to sex as chicks.
So far, Peter, their rooster, hasn't disturbed neighbors with his early-morning
crowing, Peek said. . . . . . The crowing is something urban chicken advocates
caution against. It can be loud and annoying, Boyd said. . . . . . . The
noise is in part is what motivated Chicago Ald. Lona Lane (18th) to try
to prohibit chickens in Chicago last November. Lane has other concerns
as well. She railed against the ritual slaughtering of chickens, which
remains illegal, and she fears the birds might spread disease. . . . .
. . "The stench and the smell from their feathers and their bodies—and
they are not clean," she said a year ago. "Their debris and their waste
are creating more rodents than there already are in neighborhoods." . .
. . Lane lost the fight to outlaw the birds in Chicago's residential neighborhoods,
but she said she is considering legislation after the holidays to ban the
birds in the slice of Chicago she represents. . . . . . "All things considered,
I think chickens honestly should be raised on the farm and not in densely
populated areas such as the 18th Ward," Lane said about two weeks ago.
. . . . Outside Chicago, chicken laws vary. Residents in Evanston and Elgin
are prohibited from keeping the animals. In Orland Park, chickens are not
allowed within 100 feet of schools, churches, public streets or other homes.
Naperville chickens must remain 25 feet from other homes, and their coops
and roaming grounds must be swept thoroughly at least once a day. . . .
. Francine A. Bradley, a poultry extension specialist at the University
of California at Davis, said fears about chicken-to-human contact are overblown.
. . . . "Obviously, if there was a [disease] problem, the human and chicken
bond wouldn't be as old and long-lived as it is," she said, adding that
the birds produce far less waste than dogs or cats do. . . . . . She
calls chickens "an inexpensive form of therapy"—peaceful, soothing
animals that can be trained to ride on the handlebars of a bike. . . .
. . "Chickens respond very well to kindness," she said. . . . .author:
| . .
. . From: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=86064
. . . . . . . . Brunswick chickens out on ordinance . . . . . Originally
published February 05, 2013 . . . . . . .By Karen Gardner . . . . . . News-Post
Staff . . . . . . . . BRUNSWICK -- Chickens are allowed in New York
City, Baltimore and Chicago. But Brunswick will not be joining that list
of cities in allowing a limited number of chickens kept in residential
areas. . . . . . . .A group of residents hoped that Brunswick would consider
adopting an ordinance to allow each household a limited number of chickens.
The City Council voted against drafting an ordinance at its Tuesday night
meeting. . . . . . . Chickens were once common in Brunswick, as in most
areas of America, as a source of meat and eggs. But as cities modernized,
farming and food sources became a mainstay of rural areas. . . . .
. . With the rise of organic farming and the local food movement, many
people are looking to raise their own chickens. TheCityChicken.com
is a resource for chicken owners in urban and suburban settings. . . .
. . Some cities don't address the issue of chickens, said Jim Peck, director
of research for the Maryland Municipal League. Frederick bans chickens
and other livestock in residential areas. Thurmont, however, does not ban
livestock. . . . . . . Steve Collings proposed the ordinance in August,
and the council agreed to look into it. The city asked for feedback. Petitions
brought many signatures, with the majority opposed. Collings proposed that
an ordinance allow fewer than half a dozen chickens, but no roosters. .
. . . . . Councilwoman Karin Tome and Councilman Wayne Allgaier were the
only two of six council members in favor of drafting a chicken ordinance.
. . . . . "We would have liked to have seen it go forward," Tome said Wednesday.
. . . . . Councilman Tom Smith, who criticized the proposal when it was
brought before the council, moved to oppose a draft chicken ordinance.
. . . . . . Allgaier, a physician, said an ordinance allowing a limited
number of chickens would benefit families who want to raise their own eggs.
. . . . . . ."There were a lot of arguments about health and sanitation
and pests, but I feel those things could be managed," he said. . .
. . . .Health would be a concern if feed were left in the open and rats
were attracted, but he said that could be addressed. . . . . . One resident
asked an entomologist with the National Pest Management Association whether
chickens could pose a health risk in Brunswick, and the entomologist wrote
a letter saying there are health risks. . . . . . . . Collings had suggested
that raising chickens would benefit children who are in local 4-H chapters.
. . . . . . .Baltimore allows chickens but restricts households to four
over the age of 1 month, with no pen closer than 25 feet to a residence.
The pens must be kept clean, and the chickens must have access to shelter
and water. . . . . . . .Tome hoped to see a pilot program approved, with
six to eight people volunteering to raise a few chickens each for no longer
than six to eight months, at their own expense. . . . . . The idea did
not gain any support, however.
got a mention on Sunset Magazine's
website. The mention was in a .pdf file found here: . . . http://www.sunset.com/garden/one-block-feast-details-00400000038419/
. . . . The link to the .pdf file is here: http://img4.sunset.com/static/pdf/OneBlock_Chicken.pdf
. . . . . . . . The contents of the .pdf file is: The
One-Block FEAST Copyright 2013 Sunset Publishing Corporation
living local *Sunset’s One-Block Feast: sunset.com/oneblockfeast
How to raise chickens What
could be more idyllic than a flock of hens happily clucking in your
backyard? A growing movement of people in cities and suburbs, not
just farmers, are raising chickens—and we’re right there with
them. We got six baby chicks in August of 2007 and raised them to
provide eggs for our end-ofsummer feast (www.sunset.com/oneblockfeast),
not meat (we wanted protein we wouldn’t have to kill). A side
benefit of raising chickens: their droppings, which make great fertilizer
for our garden. Plus, chickens are unexpectedly entertaining (see
for yourself at Team Chicken’s blog: visit http:// oneblockdiet.sunset.com
and click on “Team Chicken” under Categories.). What We Raised
A Mixed Flock of Six Chickens + 2 Ameraucanas (Ophelia lays
blue eggs, Alana green) + 2 Buff Orpingtons (Honey and Charlotte,
buff-colored eggs) + 2 Rhode Island Reds (Carmelita and Ruby,
deep brown to bronze eggs) Are Chickens Right for You? Before you
rush out to the feed store and get your baby chicks (adorable balls
of fluff), you need to evaluate your space and your lifestyle. Questions
to Answer Does your city allow you to keep chickens? Every
city has its own rules about this. Our particular municipality (Menlo
Park, CA) lets us keep hens, but not roosters. That’s fairly common
in cities: Many have no problem with a few hens (usually
classified as pets), but they ban noisy roosters. Check your
local regulations before getting any animals; it would be dreadful
to get them and then have to get rid of them. Do you have the
space? Each chicken should have 10 square feet to run around
in, plus 4 square feet of house. For a flock of six, that’s a 6-
by 10-foot yard and a 4- by 6-foot house. Can you keep them
safe? Making their digs secure is extremely important, especially
at night: Chickens are prey animals, and
they sleep so soundly that they seem unconscious—morsels waiting
to be devoured. They’re vulnerable to attack by raccoons, skunks,
foxes, weasels, and other predators. Raccoons are particularly
nasty, and they’re particularly clever about using their little
nasty hands to get into your coop. Also, keep in mind that your
other pets (cats, dogs) may be predators. (Details below on how to
build a secure chicken coop.) . . . . What will do you
with them when they stop laying eggs? Hens lay for four or five
years, but can live for eight (or more). What will you do if one
gets injured or sick? Locate a vet in your area before you
acquire your flock—preferably one who’s familiar with chicken health
problems. We had a great experience with a local vet, Adobe
Animal Hospital in Los Altos, CA (www.adobe-animal.com). Can
you afford it? Yes, the eggs are practically free, but setting up
a coop costs a few hundred dollars, and chicken food is an
ongoing though not large expense. Vet bills also add up quickly,
you should have the means to pay for a visit to a vet if a
chicken should get injured or sick, or be prepared to dispatch it
yourself. What We Used Materials, Prices, and Sources
The coop Encompasses both the house and the enclosed run where chickens
scratch around and spend the daylight hours. Most of the work in
raising chickens is setting up their space. Chickens need a
box to lay their eggs (at least 2 for 6 chickens), a secure house
with a roost for them to sleep on, and a place to run around and
do their chicken thing. The house should have at least 4 square
feet per laying hen. That’s much less than you’re thinking; a flock
of 6 chickens needs a structure that’s only 6 feet by 4 feet. We
got ours from Wine Country Coops. Their houses are luxurious (glass
windows! high-quality wood! beautiful construction!), but pricey
($1,500 and up; www.wine country coops.com or 707/829 8405). You can
get a less-posh chicken house at a feed store, or you can build one
yourself. Find inspiration here: www.backyard chickens.com
The yard Allow 10 square feet per hen. (You need less room in your
run if you let your chickens free-range; we don’t, because
they would eat the seedling plants in our test garden.) We made ours
with lumber (2-by-4s, to act as posts); chicken wire stretched over
the posts and buried 12 inches into the ground to keep digging
predators at bay; and a corrugated, translucent plastic top to allow
light in but keep the chickens dry in foul weather. The door to the
chicken house leads right into the yard, so the coop is AThe
One-Block FEAST Copyright 2008 Sunset Publishing Corporation
living local 2 completely enclosed and protected. (About
$200 in supplies.) For chicks Unless otherwise mentioned, we
purchased everything below from Half Moon Bay Feed ? Fuel (www.halfmoonbay
feedandfuel.com or 650/726-4814). You can also order online: www.western
ranch supply.com A warm indoor location We used a storage shed
on the Sunset grounds. Heat lamp, reflector, bulb, and clamp
Until they have feathers, chicks need to be kept very warm. About
$20. Wire cage to keep the chicks in for the first few weeks
of their lives. We preferred the type with the door at the top, because
it made reaching in easier. From $90. Plastic 1-gallon water
fount Its narrow lip keeps the chicks from drowning; also it’s
hard to tip over. About $5. Chick feeder We got a metal one with
a top to keep the chicks from scratching their food right out;
the top has holes large enough to give access to the food. About
$5. Chick starter Finely ground, high-protein (20%) mixture
of grains that a chick should eat
from the time you buy it (anywhere
from 2 days old to 1 week, typically) until it is 8 to 10 weeks old.
Medicated chick starter helps stave off the nasty parasitic
infection called coccidiosis. $18.81 for a 50-lb. sack; organic is
$32.50 for a 50-lb. sack. Chick scratch Not vital for their nutrition,
but they love it. A finely ground mix of milo, corn, and wheat. $18.81
for a 50-lb. sack (organic not available at Half Moon Bay Feed
? Fuel). Electrolytes Dissolve in the chicks’ drinking water
according to package instructions. Shores up their frail systems
with nutrients. Especially important if the chicks are sick
or stressed from traveling. OK to give up until 8 to 10 weeks. $3.99
for an 8-oz. packet (enough for more than 100 gallons of water).
For adult chickens Unless otherwise mentioned, we purchased
everything below from Half Moon Bay Feed ? Fuel (www.halfmoonbay
feedandfuel.com or 650/726-4814). You can also order online: www.western
ranch supply.com Water and food dispensers These galvanized
steel 5-gallon dispensers hang from the roof of the coop and provide
a steady source of food and water to the chickens. $30 each.
Layen (layer) crumble Less protein than chick starter and a coarser
formulation; begin feeding at 8 to 15 weeks.
This is the chickens’ main food for life. If you like, you
can give it to them in pellet form instead, to reduce waste (the
granular stuff tends to fly out of the food dispenser). Crumble,
$16.12 per 50-lb. sack; pellets, same price. Organic, $26.95 for
both crumble and pellets, 50-lb. sack. A good mail-order source for
organic layer pellets is Modesto Milling in Empire, CA (www.modestomilling.com).
$21.42 for 50 lbs. Coarse-ground oyster shells Strew a couple
of handfuls on the yard’s floor a few times a week for chickens to
peck up. Strengthens the eggshells, which otherwise can be
weak and rubbery. $12 for 50 lbs. Cracked corn To chickens,
it’s like candy. A high-energy food, it also helps them stay
warm in winter. About $19 for a $50-lb. bag. Treats from the garden
and the kitchen Chickens love leafy greens, anything wilted, fennel
and dill, arugula (their favorite), cilantro stems, chile seeds,
weeds that we pick from the garden (especially anything in
the dandelion family and wild grasses), plain yogurt, apple cores,
overripe strawberries and other fruit, and insects they find
in the dirt, plus worms. We avoided giving them meat so
as not to attract rats —and because we think it’s creepy — but
chickens are omnivores and will eat just about anything. How
We Did It A Step-by-Step Guide 1. Buying chicks We got our
chickens as sexed chicks from Half Moon Bay Feed ? Fuel (www.halfmoonbayfeedandfuel.com
or 650/726-4814). “Sexed” means that the store’s staff were
pretty sure that they were girls. Also, they came vaccinated for
Marek’s disease, a terrible, fatal poultry disease. Getting
chicks is a common way to start, partly because chicks are so darn
cute and partly because it can be a challenge to find laying hens
to buy. 2. Indoors: Keeping the chicks alive for the first
few weeks was a fun kind of bustle. Chicks need a warm, indoor location
(we kept them in a shed) and a heat lamp until they start to feather
out. We visited them several times a day, making sure that
the heat lamp was not too warm or too cool (ideal temperature: 90?
F.), that they had food and water, and that their cage was
not too much of a mess. Also, we picked them up and patted them
a lot to get them used to us. It worked: As adults, the hens are
friendly and easy to handle. 3. Outdoors: At four weeks,
they were fully feathered, the sign that they are ready to
leave the nest, so to speak. It was September in the Bay Area and
balmy when we took them out to their coop at the far end of
our test garden. During the cold months, we kept the heat lamp inside
their house for extra warmth at night. The first egg, a long-awaited
event, appeared in January, courtesy of Ophelia; over the next
several weeks, the others followed. Most chickens will begin to
lay somewhere between 18 and 24 weeks, depending on the
chicken and the weather — moderate warmth encourages laying.
4. Day-to-day maintenance As adolescents and adults, chickens don’t
require that much care. They need to have fresh water and
food available all the time, so check it daily. Clean the coop
about once a month. More often if it gets smelly faster. We
initially used straw as bedding and on the floor of the coop, but
now have moved to wood chips, since we have one chicken who
likes to eat straw. We also hose out the house, which gets filled
with droppings. We compost the droppings. Collect eggs every
day or so. Not only because you want to eat them, but because
egg buildup can encourage broodiness (a condition in which a hen
The One-Block FEAST Copyright 2008 Sunset Publishing Corporation
living local 3 refuses to get off the nest, hoping to
hatch chicks). Also, the more eggs in the nesting box, the
more likely they are to crack against each other. . . . .
Beyond the basic minimum of care, we recommend daily visits because
it’s enjoyable to go see our ladies. Plus, regularly bringing
them treats and petting and picking them up helps them get used to
human presence, and makes it easier to handle them if you’ve
got a sick chicken you need to check out, for example. Helpful
Info Your local feed store. Some companies will mail you chicks,
such as Mc Murray Hatchery (www.mc murray hatchery.com), but
beginning chicken-raisers, it’s better to get them at a feed store.
Not only is it reassuring to pick up your cheeping chicks in
person, but feed stores also have helpful, knowledgeable employees
who can be valuable resources. The forum at Backyard Chickens.com
No matter what weird problem you’re having, someone else has had
it first. If you’re looking for practical advice and real anecdotes,
this is the best resource on the Web. Sifting through the active
message board at BackyardChickens.com will get you up to speed
on what to worry about, what not to worry about, and what to do
next. More chicken talk and advice: http://www.the-coop.org/
Online coop retailers and supplies: http://www.my pet chicken.com/
http://www. omlet. us/homepage/ homepage.php Extra Notes
. . . . . Chickens are not like other pets When bringing any live
animal into your life, you assume a certain amount of risk. Puppies
can get sick. Bad things can happen to a healthy cat. But
your relationship with your chickens will likely be somewhat different
than with ordinary domestic pets. For one thing, in all likelihood,
you eat others of their species. Maybe even every day.
Some people who raise backyard chickens find that they lose their
interest in eating meat. Others, after observing chickens’
behavior and really getting to know them, decide that they feel okay
about meat. In our experience, chickens do not have the
emotional range of cats or dogs. We’ve spent a lot of time with
our chickens, and we’re pretty sure that they don’t recognize
us. They don’t really like to be held; their enjoyment of petting
seems like a reflex more than pleasure. If you are looking for
a cuddly creature with whom you will have an emotional relationship,
chickens may not be the most rewarding option. This is not
to say that we don’t like our chickens. We enjoy them very much.
like to watch them scratch around and feed them treats in the afternoons.
We like their eggs a lot. Regardless of your philosophical
feelings about whether or not your chickens are pets, you need
to make sure that you have a plan about what to do in case one
gets sick or injured. Not all vets can or will treat chickens.
Also, not everyone who raises backyard chickens chooses to treat
them when they get sick. Some people will euthanize their
own sick or injured animals; others have a friend, family member,
or neighbor who is willing to do it in an emergency. Eggs:
Questions and Answers Q: Do you need a rooster for eggs?
A: Chickens lay eggs with or without the presence of roosters. Since
we don’t have a rooster (they’re not allowed in Menlo Park),
the eggs are not fertilized, which means that they will never hatch
into chicks. (This is just as well, because we’re not really
in the market for any more chickens.) If we did have a rooster, the
eggs would be fertilized while they were, ahem, still in the hen;
the rooster doesn’t do anything to eggs once they’ve been laid.
Q: Do colored eggs taste different? A: Different varieties of chickens
lay different colors of eggs. Our Ameraucanas lay blue-green
eggs; the other four lay brown eggs of varying shades. All of them
taste exactly the same, and wonderful. Q: How many eggs do
you get a day? A: Our chickens usually lay one egg a day. Chickens
used in industrial agriculture lay two eggs a day. Q: What
do you do with the eggs? A: We give them to staff members. We
originally thought we’d use them in our test kitchen, but they’re
different than supermarket eggs — a little smaller, with more
tender whites and richer yolks — and so they throw our recipe testing
. . . . . Chickens increasingly popular pets in urban, suburban neighborhoods
. . . . . . .By Judy Keen, USA TODAY . . . MADISON, Wisconsin . . . . .
Dennis Harrison-Noonan's backyard has hollyhocks, a vegetable garden, space
for Graham the dog to explore and a fancy red-roofed chicken coop with
flowers in its window box. . . . . . .He doesn't live on a farm or even
in a rural area. He lives on a winding residential street on the north
side of the city. The four hens that occupy the coop are part of a growing
trend: city-dwellers who keep chickens in their yards as pets or for the
eggs they produce. ..
. . . .Dozens of cities have recently enacted ordinances regulating
urban chickens. Harrison-Noonan, 51, a carpenter, got his after the Madison
Common Council voted in 2004 to allow residents to have up to four hens.
must be kept 25 feet from neighbors' homes, and noisy roosters and backyard
butchering are banned. . . . . . . The city issued 12 permits in 2004;
29 in 2005; 43 last year; and 39 this year. Chicken owners say many more
people keep chickens without the permits. . . . . . Some people would like
to increase the four-bird limit to as many as a dozen, though they haven't
asked the city to consider that. "Six or eight would be a good number,"
says David Waisman, 33, a sustainability consultant who with his wife,
Molly, 32, keeps chickens behind their garage. . . . . . . . "Some people
think it's pretty radical" to raise chickens in the city, she says, but
the Waismans love the fresh eggs, and their son, Arlo, 22 months, is learning
food doesn't come just from stores. . . . . . . .'They reconnect us with
nature' . . . . . . ."There's a new and increased interest in chickens
and the keeping of chickens," says David Favre, a law professor at Michigan
State University who specializes in animal law and raises Icelandic chickens
on his 100-acre farm. . . . . . . The trend reflects "a counterpoint to
the industrialization of animals," Favre says. "It just doesn't seem right
to a lot of people that these animals are raised in confinement." . . .
. . . Harrison-Noonan had chickens when he was growing up in Missouri and
was reminded of their appeal when he and his family were missionaries in
Chile in the 1990s. "They reconnect us with nature," he says, "and it's
a matter of food security. Some people have a pistol under their pillow
for security; I have chickens in my backyard." He designed and built
his coop and sells the plans online. . . . . . . His neighbors, frequent
recipients of eggs, don't object, Harrison-Noonan says, but some worried
when the hens moved in. "There was concern at the beginning that they would
be loud and dirty, and they didn't want them in our neighborhood," he says.
. . .
. . Some neighbors are never won over. Bill Bryant, a retiree in
Evansville, Ind., has been battling his neighbors since they moved 10 chickens
into their yard 1? years ago. After an ordinance passed in December limited
the number of chickens allowed to six, the neighbors got rid of some, including
a rooster, Bryant says. . . . . . The remaining birds roam the neighbors'
entire yard and their clucking is disruptive, he says. He asked the city's
animal control board this week to tighten the ordinance to require that
the chickens stay 50 feet from Bryant's property. "I'm upset about it,"
he says. "You can't have friends over and grill out without embarrassment,
and chickens next door are not an asset when you sell property." . . .
. . . Many cities' zoning regulations don't address backyard chickens,
but their popularity has prompted some cities to regulate them for the
first time. Rogers, Ark., passed an ordinance last summer limiting residents
to four hens and requiring that they stay 25 feet from neighbors' property.
An ordinance took effect last month in Bloomington, Ind., that allows up
to five hens. Owners must get neighbors' approval, says Laurie Ringquist,
animal care and control director. . . . . . Worries of bird flu . . . .
. . Fears of avian flu, a virus that can infect people who have close contact
with sick birds, make some people wary of backyard chickens.. . . . . Gary
Riggs, a veterinarian in Barberton, Ohio, who specializes in birds, says
backyard chickens are at higher risk for avian flu because they are not
"under the intense bio-security control that commercial producers have."
It's a good idea for cities to require permits, he says, so they can react
quickly if there's a flu outbreak. . . . . .Chickens can get parasites
and other ailments, Riggs says, but if owners keep an eye on their birds'
health, "the risk is minimal." . . . . .Key West, Fla., where chickens
wander freely, has a contingency plan to destroy its birds if there's a
confirmed case of avian flu. The resort island's biggest problem, says
acting city manager John Jones, is controlling the chicken population.
. . . . . . There are about 2,000 chickens in Key West, Jones says, and
the city is trapping them to reduce the flock to 800 or 900. "We're not
killing them," he says. "We're sending them to farms." . . . . . Katy
Skinner, who has five chickens in her yard in Yacolt, Wash., and operates
a website, thecitychicken.com,
says they are easier to care for than a dog. "I find them to be nature's
Valium," she says. "When I go out and watch them, I instantly calm down."
She once kept one on an apartment patio. "I don't recommend that,"
she says. "They get lonely."
|From NYTimes.com . . . . . Envisioning the End of ‘Don’t Cluck,
Don’t Tell’ . . . . By PETER APPLEBOME . . . . . Published: April
29, 2013 . . . . .NEW HAVEN . . . . . In the modest backyard of Rosemarie
Morgan’s 1890-era house, about a half-mile from Yale University, there
is a small Buddha, azalea and forsythia, Japanese cherry and plum trees,
and an Amish-made chicken coop with five residents — four who lay eggs
and Gloria, who is barren but one heck of a watchdog. . . . . The fowl
are technically illegal under New Haven’s zoning code, which prohibited
raising hens and other livestock when it was updated during the 1950s.
But these days, many dozens of backyard hens are generally tolerated under
the city’s informal enforcement program — call it don’t cluck, don’t tell
— that mostly looks the other way.
With urban fowl increasingly common, Alderman Roland Lemar has introduced
legislation that would allow residents to raise up to six hens. . . . .
. . .Ms. Morgan, a Victorianist at Yale who specializes in Thomas Hardy
and grew up with backyard fowl in England and Scotland, may not be the
face of modern agriculture. But she’s a perfect representative of a tiny
sliver of it — the vogue for urban farming that has cities around the
country updating and tweaking zoning codes. . . . . . To Ms. Morgan
— whose other Rhode Island reds and hybrids are named Brunnhilde, Tosca,
Carmen and Mimi — the zoning fight is a little baffling. . . . . . “It’s
seems extraordinary to me that you could have a cat or a dog or a caged
bird, but you can’t have a chicken,” she said the other day, sprinkling
corn in the yard for her little brood. “Slightly barbaric really.” . .
. . . Of course, not many New Haven residents or Yale professors were raising
chickens a few years ago. But some combination of the locavore craze, the
growth of immigrant communities with traditions of raising hens and the
recession making the idea of free eggs or milk in the backyard attractive,
cities and suburbs around the country are reviewing all manner of critter
ordinances. . . . . . Seattle recently allowed residents to have up to
three goats. Minneapolis just legalized beekeeping. . . . . . .At the center
of the Brave New World of urban ag is the humble hen, whose care and keeping
is the subject of Web sites like thecitychicken.com, urbanchickens.org,
backyardchickens.com, or Just Food’s City Chicken Meetup NYC, which has
101 hen-friendly members in New York. . . . . . Ms. Morgan, whose East
Rock neighborhood was once known as Goatville, took up raising hens when
she lived in the Berkshires and, along with some friends, resumed it when
moved back to New Haven seven years ago. She likes the fresh eggs and the
link to our vanished natural past. She’s very fond of her feathered
friends, who eat bugs and mosquitoes and don’t make much noise other
than a triumphant squawk when laying. . . . . . “The eggs are fabulous,”
she said. “And it’s very emotionally fulfilling. They’re not exactly pets
— they still have a wild way about them, but they’re very smart and easy
to have around. And noise? They’re not as loud as blue jays, no worse than
a cat’s meow, certainly quieter than a barking dog.” . . . . . . Most municipalities
are much less hospitable to roosters (consider that next door every dawn)
than hens. But the clear trend is toward being more permissive. Jennifer
Blecha, who did a doctoral dissertation on people’s attitudes about urban
livestock, surveyed the zoning codes of 81 American cities and found 53
allow hens, 16 prohibit them and 9 make no mention. In general, Ms. Blecha
said, cities are much more tolerant of domestic livestock than suburbs.
. . . . “People like the idea of I take care of them, and they take care
of me,” she said, explaining that the personal agrisystem of feeding food
scraps to chickens that, in turn, produce breakfast, has enormous appeal.
. . . . . . Of course, not everyone is happy. New Haven’s head of code
enforcement does not like the idea of adding chicken coop inspection to
his portfolio. On the New Haven Advocate’s Web site, one resident lamented
the presence of “these foul, filthy, half flying, eat anything rats in
the East Rock nabe.” And any health scare involving animals — see: swine
flu — can lead to a pushback, though advocates say the real threat is from
factory farming, not small urban populations. . . . . . Owen Taylor of
Just Food, which promotes local agriculture in New York, said the key is
for people to explain their plans to their neighbors, so they know what
to expect. He praised New York’s codes, which deal with potential bad behavior
(smell, noise, rodents) rather than the existence of the hens, for allowing
responsible fowl behavior and punishing those who create a nuisance. Citing
New York street wisdom, he added, “You deal with it on a coop by coop basis.”
. . . E-mail: email@example.com
|From April 1, 2013 . . . The Buffalo News. . . . I don’t want to get egg on my face,
but I have to admit it. When I heard about the West Side lady with the
chicken coop, my first thought was, "No way." Opening the city's doors
to chicken coops seemed like a step back to a time when folks just off
of the boat, and one step from starvation, kept hens to put eggs on the
table. . .
. . . I had visions of smelly, cackling birds running across a muddy plot.
I imagined irate neighbors running around like chickens with their heads
cut off. Then I took a look Tuesday at the deluxe coop de ville in Monique
Watts' neatly tended yard. I found out that the seeds of an urban chicken-farming
movement are spreading across the land. I hunted and pecked on the
Internet for thecitychicken.com
Web site. Finally, I realized: The sky is not falling. . . . . . A chicken
on every plot is not regressive. It is progressive. . . .Animal-control
officers Saturday told Watts that it was against a city law to own hens.
By Monday, she made sure her five fowl had flown the coop. The fugitives
are brooding in an undisclosed location until the feathers stop flying.
. . . . . "Hopefully the law will get changed and I won't have to give
up my hens," Watts told me. "There are a lot of people who want to do this."
. . . . . Watts is not some odd bird or clucky eccentric. She works in
the fundraising office at Roswell Park. She and her husband, Blair Woods,
are good eggs. They own Urban Roots Garden Center. They are among the bright,
progressive urban warriors who — house by house — are reclaiming a threadbare
West Side neighborhood. Watts thinks that the complaint about the coop
came from a local drug dealer or slumlord whom they are putting the heat
on. . .
. . . Now they are part of a newly hatched national movement for fresher,
more natural food. Chickens eat insect pests, their manure is great fertilizer,
and they cluck — "no louder than a crow flying overhead," said Watts —
only when about to lay. . . . . . I know what some folks are thinking:
I would not want a chicken coop next-door to me. At first, I felt the same
way. But knowing what I know now, I would not hire a fox if the neighbors
built a henhouse. . . . . . City after city across America is changing
laws to allow fowl, with limits on the number (usually six) and type (no
noisy roosters). Buffalo is late to put its eggs in the basket, as about
two-thirds of American cities reportedly allow backyard chickens — mostly
for eggs, not slaughter. Madison, Wis., boasts more than 80 chicken owners.
There are ways to do it that keep neighbors happy. Like dogs, hens need
to be registered and — this should make our fee-hungry mayor happy — some
places charge $25 for a permit. . . . . . I asked Watts' next-door neighbors
if they were bothered by the coop, which has been there for nine months.
. . . . . "I didn't know they had chickens," Lisa Ho said. "It doesn't
bother us at all." . . . . . I am happy to report that the attitude
of city officials is refreshingly tolerant. Whereas once the likely reflex
was to slaughter the birds and send in the bulldozer, now there are open
ears and minds. David Rivera, the Council member, formed a "chicken task
force" to look into what other places have done. . . . . . "We want to
make sure we do this right," said Rivera, "and factor in health and neighborhood
considerations." . . . . . For Watts, chickens cross the road from livestock
to pets, with distinct personalities. Buttercup is a big eater; Effie is
adventurous; Minnie is the beauty; Tilda is small and sweet; and bossy
Meg is tops in the pecking order. Watts looks forward to the day when the
fugitives can resume their "eggcellent" adventure in the backyard coop.
. . . . . There are plenty of ways to rebuild a city. The universal message:
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
The City Chicken Phenomenon . . . . . . . Submitted by Erika M. on Mon, 04/20/2013 . . . . . Three weeks ago I finally took the plunge and bought four
baby chicks from the feed store. Two Buff Orpingtons, one Rhode Island
Red, and one Black Star. Maybe it's "red car syndrome" (if you buy
a red car, suddenly you notice red cars everywhere) but suddenly articles
about chickens are everywhere. . . . . . . . I live in the country,
but my chickens most closely represent City Chickens, in that they are
going to be pets. My various mailboxes (email, voice mail, and
post office) have been flooded with articles forwarded by friends and family
on the "growing trend" of raising chickens in the city. . . . . . . . I
put this trend down to four things: . . . .
. . . 1. Seasonality - baby chicks are traditionally
sold in springtime. This is partly a hold-over from the Bad Old Days,
when parents would buy their kids baby chicks as Easter presents.
(A hearty WTF on that one.) And partly due to agricultural tradition.
Although there's no reason why you couldn't raise and sell baby chicks
any time of year, springtime is when people are going to look for them.
You don't want off-season chicken overstock, if you're a feed store. .
. . . . . . 2. Incongruence - it's chickens!
In the city! The news never tires of stories about incongruence.
City chickens are the "skateboarding dog" of the urban news reporter. .
. . . . . . 3. Recession - I have noticed that almost
all of these articles use the bad economy as an underpinning, the hook
upon which they hang the city chicken phenomenon. Most of these articles
start out with a phrase like "in these tough economic times" or the equivalent.
. . . . . . . 4. Actual Trending - this is the weakest
of the four factors, if you ask me. I have been hearing about city
chickens for at least five years now, ever since the "eat local" thing
really started taking off. . . . . . The truth is that the American
homeowner's lifestyle is almost perfectly adapted for city chickens.
Chickens don't need very much space (compared to, say, goats or horses).
They regularly produce something that you can eat (eggs) for very little
effort or involvement on your part. (As compared to a goat or cow,
which will only give milk when she has a calf - requiring the owner to
knock up their pet once a year, then figure out what to do with the grown
baby.) A chicken's ideal habitat consists of a fenced yard, and
fortunately America is chock full of fenced yards. . . . . . . . Environmental
activists have been railing against the American habit (in some places,
requirement) for lawns as a yardscape. A lawn is a big empty patch
of nothing, a null void in ecological terms, but one which is heavily dosed
with an assortment of chemicals to keep it pristine. Chickens help
fill that void, and perform the handy trick of making it produce eggs that
you can eat. What's not to like?
|From DailyMail.uk. . . . .September 14, 2013. . . . . .
. . . . . . The scene is awe-inspiring and deeply disturbing. Hundreds,
if not thousands, of figures stretch into the distance until they are
just a blur of humanity, indistinguishable in their face masks and uniform
pink overalls, blue aprons and white rubber boots. . . . . . . . . .Each
anonymous worker hunched over his or her identical task is equipped with
a knife, a weighing machine and a tray for chicken parts. . . . . . . .
. .They are evenly spaced along row upon row of conveyor belts under brilliant
strip lighting in a shed the size of several aircraft hangers. .
. . . . . . . .This is the inside of the Jilin Deda factory, situated on
Road 102 in Dehui City, China. . . . . . . . . .It is one of the largest
poultry-processing plants in the world, and 375,000 chickens are slaughtered,
plucked, dismembered and packaged here each working day. . . . . .
. . . .That is 100 million birds every year, and the plant's speciality,
in the unappetising jargon of the meat industry, is the production of "frozen
bone-in and boneless chicken parts". . . . . . . . . .Most of the produce
from the bird carcasses hanging on the hooks on the right of the photograph
is consumed on the domestic market. . . . . .
. . . .But chicken meat 'processed' in this shed is exported to 20 other
countries, including Switzerland, Germany, South Africa, Russia and Japan.
. . . . . . . . .It is sold in bulk either for further processing
the company has two 'ready food' processing factories
or for subsequent distribution to shops. . . . . . . . . .The one million
square metre operation, employing more than 11,000 staff, is located
in Jilin province, one of China's poorest, hard up against the borders
of Russia and North Korea. . . . . . . . . .Every aspect of the production,
from the breeding and rearing of the birds to the growing of their feed,
is taken care of on-site by this agro-industrial giant. . . . . . . . .
.But while it generates ?6 million annual profit for its owners a joint
venture partnership between the Chinese authorities and a Thai food-processing
company and its executives earn Western-style salaries and bonuses, the
Deda workers you can see here are paid the equivalent of ?31 a month, the
region's minimum salary. . . . . . . . . .This compares very poorly even
with the ?673 average annual income for Jilin as a whole, which is itself
less than half the figure earned on average by the citizens of China's
capital, Beijing. . . . . . . . . .Depending on your viewpoint, this striking image, taken by
Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, is either a vision of industrialised
hell or a testament to Chinese economic vitality. . . . . . . . . .In
the first half of this year the country's annual economic growth rate was
running at an extraordinary 11 per cent. . . . . . . . . .At that rate,
China should overtake the United States as the world's predominant industrial
power in our lifetime; indeed, as the country opened up to a more capitalist
approach, China's poultry-processing sector increased 36-fold in a decade.
. . . . . . . . .It stands second in the world only to its U.S. counterpart.
. . . . . . . . .At what cost, though, to the lowly Chinese factory workers,
far from the high rise towers and glass canyons of booming Shanghai
And at what cost to the world as a whole . . . . . . . . .Some
might argue that as we in the West seek to move away from factory farming
and mass food production towards a more organic, healthier, less cruel
approach, China has more basic concerns: the country has to eat.
. . . . . . . . .There are 1.3 billion mouths to feed, a figure
which is set to rise to 1.5 billion by the year 2040. . . . . . . . . .In
recent decades, tens of millions have deserted the countryside for the
cities, where there is little or no room for their staple backyard poultry.
. . . . . . . . .With such a ready and voracious demand from the urban
masses, the chickens you see being prepared for sale were 'intensively
farmed'. This means they were reared in factory-style conditions. . . .
. . . . . .Animal rights activists have long expressed their opposition
to the way in which southeast Asia's giant poultry-processing operations
are run. . . . . . . . . .But in the past two years that concern has been
shared by some within the medical profession, as the bird flu strain H5N1
spread across Asia into Europe, amid fears of a human pandemic. . . . .
. . . . .Three south-east Asian poultry workers have died in the outbreak.
Some experts have blamed it on the poor hygiene of intensive poultry farming
methods employed in China and neighbouring countries. . . . . . . . . .For
the workers at Jilin Deda, however, there is little alternative. Theirs
is a poor backwater and foreign investors go there only because the labour
is so cheap. . . . . . . . . .Despite the economic boom that has swept
even this province as part of the 'China miracle', only 4 per cent of
people in Jilin have internet access and only one in every 200 has enough
money to run a car. . . . . . . . . .They may have yet to reap the
benefits, but their employers have not been slow to catch up with the PR
speak and spin of this brave new world even if the reality is different.
. . . . . . . . ."Satisfying clients, profiting the company, contributing
to the society," is the business motto of the Jilin Deda company. . . .
. . . . . .Its website goes on to state: "We sincerely wish to be hand
in hand with people from all walks of life to create a beautiful future
for all of us." . . . . . . . . .For the present, for tens of thousands
of provincial Chinese, life is a uniform of pink overalls, blue aprons
and matching face masks and boots, and mind-numbing work rewarded by a
few pence an hour.
|Chicks flying out the coops as Portlanders
flock to suppliers . . . . . by Jacques Von Lunen, Special to The Oregonian
. . . Tuesday April 14, 2013, 6:28 AM . . . . . Beth Nakamura/The
OregonianSalchow the hen has been trained to make small flying leaps for
food, says owner Lisa Ewing (right). Kendra Hellweg offers the bird a perch.
. . . . . The chirping of 70 of the cutest, fluffiest chicks you ever saw
filled Pistils Nursery last Tuesday. Customers in the store on Northeast
Mississippi Avenue took turns cooing over the newborn birds. . .
. . . Two days later, the store was quiet again. All of the chicks had
been sold. . . . . . The slow economy has egged on Portlanders' already
strong do-it-yourself mentality and created an unprecedented demand for
chickens, as more urbanites discover the benefits of companion animals
that produce free breakfast. . . . . . More about chickens . . .
. . Before you rush out and set up that coop, check with your city on what
regulations it has about keeping chickens. Here are some. . . . . . Portland:
You can keep up to three hens without a permit as long as they live in
sanitary conditions and don't cause obnoxious smells. Permits for more
hens are $30; adequate facilities are required. . . . . . Vancouver: You
can keep as many hens as you like as long as they are healthy and safe
and don't cause odor. No eggs can be sold without a permit. . . .
. . Beaverton: Chickens are prohibited except as pets inside the house.
. . . . . Hillsboro: Chickens are prohibited with this exception: You may
apply for a permit if you live on a single-family one-acre lot along the
floodplain or at the city's outer edges. The city is reviewing this policy;
changes are not expected before 2010. . . . . . Information about
raising chickens: TheCityChicken.com . . . . . Information about
chicken breeds: The ICYouSee Handy-Dandy Chicken Charts . . . . . Pistils
sold about 600 chicks last year, said manager Mandie Rose. This
year, they're selling about twice as fast. . . . . . "So many
chickens," she said. "You can't even imagine." . . . . . Other chicken
suppliers around town are seeing the same trend. Linnton Feed ? Seed,
which caters to the rural as well as the urban egg producer, gets a shipment
of about 150 chicks every week. This year, they're usually gone in a day,
said Bob Gentner, an employee at the industrial Northwest Portland store.
. . . . . Hatcheries are having a hard time keeping up with demand. . . .
. . Dunlap Hatchery in Caldwell, Idaho, a supplier to several stores in
Portland, used to take about two weeks to fill an order, said spokeswoman
Angie Dunlap. Now the supplier is sold out for two months. . . .
. . A one-day seminar titled "Raising City Chickens" at Portland Community
College filled up so fast in the winter that two dates are available
for the spring term. The Avian Medical Center in Lake Oswego had to add
a second run to its "Clickin' Chicken" class, and clinic staffers say they're
seeing about twice as many clients with chickens as last year. .
. . . . So what makes these feathered friends so popular? . . . .
. "They're fun, rewarding and easy to take care of," said Suzette
Pump, who teaches the PCC seminar. "We call them 'yard fish,' they're so
relaxing to watch." . . . . . Pump first got chickens so she could
avoid eating eggs with hormones that she believed contributed to her mother's
cancer. The battery hens that lay most mass-produced eggs are fed hormones
and antibiotics to keep them productive. . . . . . Pump also considered
getting meat out of the deal. To make sure she'd be able to harvest that
meat, she named the chickens Fried, Roasted and Barbecued. . . .
. . It didn't work. . . . . . "I still got attached," Pump remembered,
laughing. . . . . . Her chickens can safely be called egg-laying
pets now. Teaching a class this month, Pump talked about how excited her
"ladies" get when she brings back a to-go box from a restaurant. They know
they'll get treats, Pump said. . . . . . Her chickens consider themselves
equals of her two fierce-looking dogs. . . . . . "When the Doberman
runs up to the fence to bark, four chickens come running up behind him,"
Pump said. . . . . . Like life on a farm . . . . . Aside from chickens'
winning personalities, they offer a window into a simpler life. That's
especially appealing for parents who want to raise their children in a
farmlike environment, even if they live on a single lot in the city, said
Rose, the Pistils manager. . . . . . "About 75 percent of the
buyers have kids," she said. "I know my daughter loves having them around."
. . . . It helps that it doesn't take a lot of investment to set up a backyard
barnyard. . . . . . The chicks at Pistils -- if you can get them
-- cost $5.50. Feed and other supplies run about $5 a month, give or take,
Pump said in her class. . . . . . But before you run out and get
chicks, make sure you know the regulations in your neighborhood and your
city. No matter where in the metro area you live, one thing's for sure:
no roosters. . . . . . Then, consider what kind of chicken is right
for you. . . . . . Some breeds, such as White Leghorns and Golden
Comets, are prolific layers, Pump said. Others lay a little less but
are docile and playful pets. Australorp and Brahma chickens are examples
of good playmates. . . . . . Candidate breeds . . . . . About
38 breeds are considered ideal for Oregon's climate, Ameraucana, Australorp,
Brahma, Leghorn and Rhode Islands among them. . . . . . Build a good
coop for the chickens or buy a pre-fab chicken home. It's important to
safeguard the hens from predators at night. Solid construction and long,
skinny entranceways that keep out raccoons are essential. . . .
. . Store the chicken food in sealed totes so it doesn't attract vermin.
. . . . . Always wash hands with soap after handling chickens to avoid
the salmonella bacteria, which birds can carry in feces and which can cause
gastrointestinal problems. Oregon's public health veterinarian last
week confirmed two cases of salmonella infection in people who had handled
chicks. . . . . . Get more than one hen. They're social animals
and like company. . . . . . Give the hens enough room. A minimum
of 2 square feet is required for each hen. But really, chickens need more
than that. Within Portland city limits, where you can keep up to three
hens without a special permit, most backyards are probably big enough for
those three. . . . . . Last, but certainly not least: Give them something
to do. Hens are smarter than you think and, just like dogs and cats, they
are healthiest when they have something to do. Learning tricks, for example.
. . . . . "If they were out on a farm and scratching for food, it'd be
different," said Lisa Ewing, who teaches the "Clickin' Chicken" class
in Lake Oswego. "But my girls are in a 6-by-6 run." . . . . .
Being the boss . . . . . Pump, at PCC, said it's important to teach
your chickens to come to you on command -- when you want to get them into
the coop, when you need to examine an injury or when one strays outside
your yard, for example. . . . . . That's where the training comes
in. Toepick, one of Ewing's hens -- they have ice skating-themed names
-- gets excited as soon as Ewing holds out a yellow ball on a long handle.
The hen picks at the ball, a clicker sounds and a treat follows.
. . . . . "The basic thing we teach them through food-based reward is to
touch their beaks to the ball," Ewing said. "Then we can guide them across
obstacles with the ball." . . . . . Sure enough, Zamboni, a beautiful
Bantam, strides across a little arched bridge in pursuit of the yellow
ball and the accompanying treat. . . . . . Salchow, a Silver Sebright,
ups the ante for her fellow trainees: She flies across the room, from one
person's arm to another's, to get her treat. . . . . . Ewing said
she's watched her hens come up with little games in the backyard after
training sessions. . . . . . "Seeing that they can do all these things
gives people respect for their chickens," she said. "We're really only
limited by the number of things we can come up with for them to do."
. . . . . -- Jacques Von Lunen; firstname.lastname@example.org
. . . . . Pet chickens becoming quite the healthy, edible rage .........(Published
Monday, June 4, 2013 10:25:01 AM CST).........
.By Colin Fly...... .Associated Press.........MADISON, Wis. - Tessa Lowinske
Desmond awoke at her new east side property on a dense residential street
to the sounds of her back gate creaking open slowly and suspiciously..........Desmond
rustled her husband and jumped up to peek out her back window, where she
found the culprit: five neighborhood kids gathered around her back fence,
enthralled. They were watching Desmond's pet chickens - clucking, scratching
and preening in the early morning sun.........."Everyone in the neighborhood
is interested in the chickens," said Desmond, who inherited Big Rig
and Buffy when she bought the property from friends in August. "They connect
me to our community.".........Desmond is part of growing trend of people
who raise the backyard fowl to learn about food sources, harvest fresh
eggs and eventually consume the tasty birds.........."People have been
keeping chickens for millennia and it's a skill that may seem novel to
us right now but is actually something that is like gardening, something
that our ancestors have been doing for a long time," said Karen Luetjen,
executive director of Seattle Tilth, an organization devoted to urban gardening
and food production. "Once the novelty wears off, it just makes sense to
be able to produce your own food in the space that you have.".........Others
noticed, too..........Backyard Poultry magazine was resurrected about
a year and a half ago after being halted in the 1980s. Readership
in the Medford, Wis.-based publication has skyrocketed compared to
its other two animal magazines - sheep! Magazine and Dairy Goat Journal..........Publisher
Dave Belanger said that the more than 50,000 subscribers exceeded their
expectations tenfold.........."It's been phenomenally successful," editor
Elaine Belanger said..........Katy
Skinner, in Yacolt, Wash., has had chickens for the past 10 years in
Washington and previously in Portland, Ore.........."They're crossover
pets. They're not livestock, and they're not pets, but they give you fertilizer
and eggs and they eat all your kitchen scraps," Skinner said. "They seem
more practical than a dog or a cat. It makes people feel a little greener,
doing something for the environment.".........Filmmakers Tashai Lovington
and Robert Lughai have chronicled the chicken movement in Madison since
it was illegal to have the birds as recently as 2003..........The couple
had nine chickens in their home in southern Michigan in 1995 before moving
to Colorado and eventually settling in Mount Horeb, Wis.........."There
are all kinds of people doing this, but they tend to be educated, definitely
interested in where their food comes from," Lughai said. "They tend to
be people who have gardens in their backyards, interested in organic food.".........The
biggest obstacle in owning backyard chickens is the differing laws from
city to city. In New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, it's legal to own birds
with limited restrictions.........."I've had calls from Lexington, Ky.,
Vancouver, British Columbia, towns in Alaska; many places are trying to
get the city to permit chickens," Luetjen said. "I don't know when our
municipal code was changed to include chickens as being permitted, but
I know that there hasn't been any serious questioning of it in the last
decade or so.".........But a progressive city like Madison didn't change
its laws until three years ago, thanks to help from Bryan Whiting and Alicia
Rheal, who live a few blocks from Desmond..........Rheal had owned farm
animals in rural Dodgeville, about 40 miles west of Madison, but a nosy
neighbor reported her to authorities on their suburban street saying that
Rheal planned to slaughter the birds.........."No one knew if they were
legal or not. They weren't," Rheal said..........So Rheal and Whiting had
their chickens cross the road to hide at a friend's place - thus answering
the age-old question and starting the "poultry underground" - and went
to work changing the laws.........."Some people in Madison predicted it
would never fly, like a chicken," Whiting said. "That's why I was really
concerned that we get this thing passed without too much clucking.".........The
issue drew a crush of publicity but passed anyway. Since the change to
allow four birds per property, there has been a sharp influx of owners
in Madison. The city has already issued about as many permits for the
birds this year as last after a 48 percent increase in permits from 2005
to 2006. Many owners want the city to expand the limit to up to 12
birds..........Rheal and Whiting's chickens, back in the open, have been
well-received. The next-door neighbors have their patio furniture up against
the property line to watch the birds on warm evenings. Another neighbor
complained about losing her view after Rheal and Whiting erected a new
coop..........The two are also working to help write generic, chicken friendly
legislation to change municipal codes where the birds still aren't allowed..........Meanwhile
Desmond's husband, Matt, isn't enamored with chickens, but copes with his
wife's obsession.........."My husband laughs because we get the New York
Times, we get Time magazine, but he tells people, 'The only thing Tessa
reads when she gets it is Backyard Poultry,"' Desmond said..........And
among friends, the chickens stay in the spotlight.........."You always
get questions with chickens," she said.
|Article original link: http://www.buffalospree.com/Buffalo-Spree/May-2012/Redefining-farm-from-roots-to-animals/
. . . . . "Redefining farms, from roots to animals." . . . by Nina
Barone . . . . . . Organic garden, social network, and community in
one, Joshua Reis’s budding farm operation on Buffalo’s East Side has permaculture
ideals at its heart. When purchasing 226 East Utica from the city for $1,
Reis set out to create a deeper, more meaningful place than an urban farm
alone. . . .
. . . . Originally from New Paltz, New York, Reis is a massage therapist,
yoga instructor, personal trainer, and permaculture enthusiast. His childhood
was spent in a community at the Center for Symbolic Studies in The Catskills,
where he was introduced to native culture, mystical philosophies, and farms.
The community was, Reis says, “a farm of ideas.” Sweat lodges, walking
on hot coals, and spiritual study are not typically part of a sixteen-year-old’s
existence, but they laid a foundation for Reis’ life, which includes a
fervent interest in permaculture. . . . . . . . . As Reis explains it,
permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally
productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience
of natural ecosystems. It harmoniously integrates landscape and people
to create economically and ecologically sustainable local communities.
Through hands-on experience and education at the Finger Lakes Permaculture
Institute, Reis’s training runs the gamut, from soil building to utilizing
appropriate technologies . . . . . . . . . . What Reis has designed here
in Buffalo is not a farm as most know it. For starters, Reis and girlfriend
Emily Gaines operate a nonprofit organization, the Capoeira Cultural Arts
Center, from a renovated house on the property. African drum and dance,
yoga, and the Afro-Brazilian martial art, Capoeira, will be practiced and
offered. . . . . . . .
. . . .After his formal studies, Reis traveled to Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia,
Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, where he often “WWOOFed” it. WWOOF,
an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a network
linking volunteers with organic farmers. In return for help, hosts offer
food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.
Reis chose Brazil to practice Capoeira, which looks like breakdancing and
sounds like folk music. With roots in African slavery in Brazil, Capoeira’s
history is as complex and breathtaking as it appears. It utilizes dance,
song, and combat; the last is thought of more as play than fight. . . .
. . . . . . Reis hopes to get neighborhood kids involved via both the expressive
arts, and in learning how to grow and cook food. Neighbors may not recognize
the gardening design, but Reis trusts they will find it inviting. There
are not rows of beds; instead, keyhole shapes enable gardeners to easily
access plants for tending, picking, and interaction. They also allow more
room to grow food. . . . . . . . . . .“There are no straight lines in the
natural ecosystem—it’s moving,” says Reis. “‘Creating edge’ is a hot term
in permaculture because there’s a culmination of things that happen at
edges. Animals come up to the forests, natural fields butt up against water;
there’s a lot of action.” . . . . . . . . . .Native farming follows the
seven layers of a natural ecosystem: overstory canopy, namely large trees;
smaller trees, which can sustain part shade; shrubs; herbaceous layer;
ground cover; root crops; and climbers. The perimeter of Reis’s property
boasts fourteen fruit trees—ten varieties of apples and four kinds of pears—utilizing
“espalier,” the practice of pruning and growing trees in a shapes manageable
for picking. Reis plans to cultivate hearty perennial vegetables, which
require less attention than annuals, and mushrooms, including giant stropharia
and shiitake, for both food and medicinal purposes. . . . . . . . . . .
. .Reis knows which plants are symbiotic when planted near each other,
so his garden forms an ecosystem rich with mutually beneficial relationships.
This companion planting minimizes the need for external energy to feed
plants, and the integration of animals achieves a closed loop system, where
no other energy is required to sustain it. . . . . . . . . . . .Reis’s
garden is evolving as he explores which farm animals to integrate into
his ecosystem. A first step involves linking together a chicken coop, simple
greenhouse, and a cordwood sauna. The sauna will heat the greenhouse, while
chickens will weed, fertilize, and graze inside. Reis aims to have his
chicks set up within the system this summer; he’ll also use a chicken tractor,
which is essentially a bottomless cage. . . . . .
. . . . . .“Chicken tractors are perfect for a small number of city
chickens,” says Katy Skinner, owner of thecitychicken.com. “The chickens
can scratch and eat off of the ground, and you can drag or roll your chicken
tractor around the yard if you want. Without a cage bottom, the manure
goes directly onto the ground and becomes fertilizer.” . . . . . .
. . . . .Monique Watts, director of development at Elmwood-Franklin School,
credits her council member, David Rivera, with helping achieve legislation
to raise chickens in the city in 2009: “He and his staff looked at all
the angles and worked on an ordinance that was user-friendly for the neighbors.”
. . . . . . . . . . .Now, Reis is part of a group hoping to achieve a similar
agreement for raising other animals, including goats and bees, which aren’t
yet qualified for the city. Reis says a collective is working on the task,
and he wrote a personal letter to the city, noting templates used elsewhere.
Goats will keep invasive species at bay because they eat everything, explains
Reis, who also appreciates their craft, such as goat cheese. . . . . .
. . . . . .“I decided to stay [in Buffalo] because it is so wide open and
it can reinvent itself,” says Reis, “but it’s just slow to catch on to
other ideas. I really think there’s enough open land to have rotational
grazing, as they would in a natural landscape. They graze, poop, fertilize
the land, and you can grow the next year. Then they move to the next property
in this cycle of building the soil and providing food for the community.
I know it’s far off to have cows in the city, but one day …” . .
. . . . . . . . .Nina Barone is a marketing-communications professional
and adventurous home cook. You can read her blog at buffalofoodie.com.
|This article is from BaltimoreMagazine.net,
2014, and was written by Michele McFarland. . .
. . . .Coming Home to Roost . . . . . . . . .As domestic chicken coops
rise in popularity, that clucking you hear just might be coming from your
neighbor’s backyard. . . . .
. . . . .By Michele McFarland . . . . . .. . .So you've decided to take
the chicken plunge. The first step in the process is approval from the
city, beginning with an exotic pet/multi-pet license application. The
form is available in triplicate by calling the city's office of Animal
Control, 410-396-4698. Include a one-time, non-refundable, $80 fee, and
contact Animal Control, even before you have the chickens or the coop,
for a home inspection. Simultaneously, register the still non-existent
chicken flock with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (mda.state.md.us/pdf/poultry_registration.pdf
[Note: PDF opens in a new tab/window]). Residents post their permit request
for 10 days, and if no neighbors get their feathers in a ruffle, the chickens
come home to roost. (The promise of free eggs never hurts.) To date,
no city permits, even those contested, have been turned down. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Things are a little different in Baltimore
County (laws vary among Maryland's jurisdictions). Owners still need to
register with the state, but no county permit is required. And while the
ordinance makes no reference to how many birds may be kept, or their living
conditions, it does limit their existence to properties with more than
an acre of land. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pip, a gleaming,
black, long-tailed Bantam rooster, is no ordinary chicken. He likes to
climb the green-runged ladder of the family playset and slide down the
lemon-yellow slide; he's treated to table scraps—like shrimp tails and
birthday cake—and gets carried about the yard like a king. Because, you
see, Pip lives not on a farm, but in a Baltimore County backyard.
And he's not alone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Backyard chickens
are so this decade—cheaper to feed than a pot-bellied pig, more practical
than Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, and appealing to our collective leaning
toward all things organic, home-grown, and economically sound. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .The city of Portland, OR, has so many chickens
that two savvy women created Just Us Hens, the nation's first chicken-sitting
service. Last October, a town near Boston hosted a "Tour de Coops" of
local backyard chicken houses. Today, circulation at Backyard Poultry
magazine is up dramatically, to 73,000 subscribers. And the trend has landed
in Baltimore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."I think more people should
do it," says Charlotte L'Esperance, 43, of the city's Lake Walker neighborhood.
She and her husband own a furniture design house, Gunnar Designs, where
they fashioned a one-of-a-kind metal coop that resembles the end of an
Airstream travel trailer. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . ."My husband grew up on a farm, and we would talk about
how sheltered kids are today," she says. "They don't know where their food
comes from." She notes that her 10-year-old daughter was once unaware that
bacon came from a pig. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."We thought that
owning chickens would be a good way for her to see that food is not just
from the grocery store." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .In Maryland,
chickens can legally live on more than one acre in Baltimore County, or
behind a row house in Baltimore City, which quietly passed its own urban
chicken ordinance in October 2007. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Large-scale
chicken farming is one of Maryland's top agricultural commodities, and
pint-sized flocks are quickly becoming a top hobby, too. More than 3,000
backyard flocks exist throughout the state. Roughly 200 are in Baltimore
County, which saw a 25 percent increase in registrations last year,
according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Twelve flocks have
been issued permits in Baltimore City—eight of them in 2010. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .And those are just the birds that have been counted.
According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, many owners are unaware
of the requirement to register with the State to help prevent the spread
of rare, but serious, poultry diseases, like avian flu. It's safe to assume
that dozens of illegal chickens are fertilizing flower beds throughout
the Baltimore area, their proper documentation as scarce as hen's teeth.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .In his suburban kingdom, Pip spends
a few hours each day eating ticks from the grass, "free-ranging" between
the pea-gravel patio and the two-tone cedar garage with a half dozen regal-looking
hens. Some are an attractive shade of auburn, sun-kissed with blonde highlights.
One looks as if the tips of her silver feathers have been dusted in charcoal.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .These are not the commercial grade,
big-breasted, grocery store chickens that produce the eggs found in supermarkets.
Backyard chickens, which can be purchased at local feed stores, are usually
what they call "fancy" breeds, with their multi-colored feathers, distinctive
combs, and beautiful eggs in soft colors like buff, teal, moss, and peony.
(Martha Stewart was so enamored of the hues she designed an entire color
palette—Araucana Sage for the dining room walls!—based on her own backyard
flock.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Handled since birth,
many of these chickens sport family-friendly dispositions and are easy
to pick up and pet. They've been known to watch TV alongside their
humans. One city chicken is so often brought indoors and indulged that
she made it into the formal family portrait. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .The birds are also renowned for their comedic antics. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . ."I've even had one that followed me around the
yard like a dog," says Pip's owner, Sheila Muccio, a 45-year-old real estate
appraiser who lives in Relay, near Patapsco State Park, with her husband
and two children. "Just watch them. They're addictive." . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .And health industry advocates claim that backyard eggs
may be nutritionally superior, if the chickens are fed a diet rich in folic
acids, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . ."I went through a period when I was really grossed out by eggs,
especially the ones that came from factory farms," Muccio says. But she
is so confident in the quality of her home-laid eggs, she keeps them unwashed
and unrefrigerated on her counter in cooler weather, unconcerned about
what diseases they could be harboring. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . ."I've never gotten sick on my eggs, and I make raw
eggnog every Christmas for 70 or 80 people," she says. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .Cole Muccio bursts from the house, all parts of
his eight-year-old body in motion but for his hand that gently cradles
a greenish speckled egg. The Muccio family's six hens lay three-to-five
eggs every day on a 21-day cycle in the former Far Niente wine carrier
that serves as a nesting box in their hand-hewn coop. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .Cole plays with the birds, flinging them over his shoulder,
building them forts, and calling them names like Fluffy and Sleepy
Spots. Both he and his sister Tess, 14, are encyclopedic in their knowledge
of chickens: how to hatch the peeps, coddle them to adulthood, and feed
them with a combination of grain, corn mash, table scraps, and grit (tiny
pebbles that aid digestion). They are also well-versed in the lifecycle
of a chicken, aware that age or illness, or more likely, a fox or dog or
hawk, will get to one of the birds eventually. (Barring an unnatural
act, a chicken can live to be about eight years old.) . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .Loss, it seems, is one of the downsides to keeping
chickens. Even in the city, raccoons artfully unhinge hooks and latches
to steal into the hen house in the dark of night. Weasels are particularly
macabre: they decapitate them, drink the blood, and often leave the carcass
behind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The chickens are not even safe
from each other. The term "pecking order" derives from the chicken coop,
where stronger birds attack if they sense weakness. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .Roosters, too, can be problematic, and are notorious for
fighting one another, which is why small flock owners rarely keep more
than one. (Not to mention that, contrary to popular opinion, roosters
crow throughout the day, not just at dawn.) . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .To alleviate some of the negatives, roosters are banned altogether
in Baltimore City. (Hens always lay eggs, even without a rooster around
to fertilize them.) But city residents are able to keep up to four hens
in a clean, moveable pen (to avoid the buildup of airborne pathogens),
as long as it stays 25 feet from a neighboring residence. The birds must
have access to food, water, shade, shelter, and veterinary care. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Roosters are not banned in Baltimore County,
but housing chickens on less than an acre is verboten. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .This rankles Jason James, 29, who created a Facebook
page, "Chicken Revolution," to protest the county requirement. "There isn't
a single compelling reason why one would need an acre of property to safely
and humanely raise a small flock of laying hens," he says, adding that
noise and odor, the most common neighborly concerns, are non-existent with
a small flock. At press time, James's page had 140 followers. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .Another website, charmcitychickens.com, proposes
simple legislation supporting up to six birds for suburbanites with smaller
lots, but so far, there's not been a peep from county officials. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .This spring, outlying feed stores—like Westminster's
Tractor Supply Co. and The Mill stores in Hereford, Whiteford, and Bel
Air—expect to be brimming with new chicken farmers ogling day-old hatchlings
and asking about which birds will mature into the prettiest hens. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."I can see, for somebody in the city, having
chickens would give them a little bit of that country life feel in a small
amount of space," says Kelly Vaughn, former retail manager of The Mill
of Hereford, where, from late March until early June, Rhode Island Reds,
Black and Red Sex-links, White Leghorns, Barred Rocks, and the colored-egg
laying Ameraucanas and Araucanas are sold for roughly $3 each. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .A baby chicken starter kit would run about
$35 and should include warming lamps, mini-feeders, pine shavings, and
feed. A plastic storage tub works for raising hatchlings indoors, where
they can be easily handled, fed, and kept safe from varying temperatures
and prey. Chickens are ready for an outdoor coop when fully-feathered.
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .Coops range from plastic igloos to elaborate English Tudor
replicas with prices that go from around $300 to $2,000 or more depending
on the size and "amenities," like attached runs and removable perch boxes.
But some crafty owners have been known to rehab discarded playhouses
for their chicks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The idea of chickens
as the family pet is certainly quaint, but as we all know, chickens are
not only bred for eggs, they're bred for their meat, too. Eating a backyard
chicken may not be for everyone, but it's not forbidden, either. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Eliza Gould, 35, lives on a Monkton farm,
where her children—ages nine, seven, and four—distinguish the edible chickens
from the laying hens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."The kids call
them meat birds," says Gould, whose own parents began raising chickens
when she was a teen. "The egg-laying birds are the ones that have names.
Those are the ones the kids pick up and carry around." . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .Chickens intended for eating tend to do quite a bit
of eating themselves, about two pounds of feed for each pound they gain.
But it's dinner at the back door for those with the inclination to slaughter
and dress their birds at home, which is perfectly legal in Maryland as
long as the chickens are consumed by the family and not sold for profit.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Gould says she's killed, de-feathered,
and gutted her Cornish-Rock hybrid chickens at home—once, as her children
peered through a telescope from an upstairs window. But she prefers the
two-hour drive to a Lancaster County farm that will slaughter the birds
for $2.50 a piece. The farmer's daughters greet her at one side of
the barn, in their Mennonite hats, long skirts, and bloody aprons. She
picks up the cleaned and gutted birds about half an hour later, at the
other end of the barn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The long, squawking
trek is worth it, she says. "I just don't like doing it," she says. . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Melissa Sobolewski, 20, of Parkton, also
raises meat birds, Bantam Cornish Game Hens, for show. A chicken enthusiast
her whole life, she joined a 4-H chicken program at the age of 14 and began
to show the birds. Now she is a judge's assistant as well, and a member
of a handful of local poultry breeders and fanciers associations. As a
result, Sobolewski doles out invaluable chicken advice. Important to remember,
she says, is that chickens are prone to disease when under stress, and
they stress easily without proper care. So Sobolewski recommends that the
birds have plenty of clean food, clean water, and good clean . . . entertainment?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."They can get bored and anxious and
antsy. That's when they start to pick at each other," she says. She routinely
hangs lettuce leaves just out of reach of the birds. "They like to jump
for it," she says. "They need an enrichment activity." . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .Perhaps that is why backyard chickens—pecking at toys
in the sand box, watching TV with their families, and sunning themselves
on the doghouse roof— are flourishing throughout Baltimore. And perhaps
why Pip is loving life in the Muccio's backyard.
. .Written by: Zem Joaquin. October 3, 2013.From:
. . . . Community Coup: Chickens Are the New
Dog. I'm completely fascinated by a recent phenomenon that I
have not only observed, I have become an unwitting participant as well.
It seems that chickens are the new dog. There are a variety of breeds
- some beautiful, some homely, but whichever someone has, they are apt
to be fiercely protective of their flock. Friends and associates
are cordoning off space, whether it be a sprawling backyard field or
a postage stamp city slicker's pen. Facebookers are updating
the status of their laying, Twitter is seeing a cacophony of tweets about
how to look after this canine replacement and entire sites are being
devoted to the care of these domesticated birds (see TheCityChicken.com,
UrbanChickens.org, and MadCityChickens.com). While the trend of urban
poultry farming is clearly on the rise (without firm national statistics,
we can point to the upwards of 30k members on sites like BackYardChickens.com,
with an average of 100 new members a day!), the most interesting thing
is that this meme seems to have many explanations rather than one specific
origin. After 2 years of careful consideration I acquired two Silkies
from a devout 4-H'er. Silkies are the Pomeranians of the chicken world
- beautiful, cuddly, proud and somewhat useless. At around the same
time my friend Chris acquired some real "layers" that aren't quite as chic
but definitely more productive. A verbal war ensued over who had
the better birds, all in jest. But it did prompt me to ask what motivated
him to get his. Turns out, this ex-SUV driving, former conservative-voting,
all-American guy felt it was time to take his health into his own hands.
He and his wife Beverly began tending to their own organic garden and chicken
eggs seemed like an obvious way to increase their protein. I have
never heard anybody so proud of their pet's accomplishments. Becoming
agrarian seems to suit them beautifully. We got our hens after
we had to give up our dog due to my son's allergies. I decided
that if I was getting a new pet, it was going to reciprocate and have some
positive environmental claw-print, rather than the heavy carbon paw-print
of a dog (think of all those blue-baggies that preserve the poop in landfills
for an eternity). Our chickens were virtually free and require
very little maintenance (10-15 minutes a day at most). We
borrowed an old hutch from a friend and bought one large bag of organic
scratch and one block of cedar shavings for bedding for a grand total
of $55. Two months later I'm about 1/8th through both and the
truth is I don't really need either. Chickens are happiest eating
bugs and kitchen scraps, so they are essentially living composters.
We use the nitrogen rich excrement as fertilizer for our organic garden
and we collect little eggs (silkies are all about quality, not quantity)
that are a perfect lunch snack for my daughter. I feel great about
'growing' - I've learned only recently that the USDA considers grocery
store eggs to be "fresh" up to 45 days after being packed! As part
of this new coup community, now Chris and I are swapping fowl stories
about how to best use droppings and talking about the next domesticated
animal that will get closer to edible independence. But the six degrees
of poultry separation keeps popping up! I was sharing my story on Facebook,
when suddenly I was flooded with similar tales. Turns out that many
of our friends have been contemplating adding some clucking to their lives
or in a surprising number of cases, have already done so. Some live
in more urban areas, some more rural. Some are liberal and some are
conservative. I think that it is similar to solar panels.
People get them for different political views. There are those that
want energy independence, those that want to save money over the long term
and those that just want to take a stand for the planet. Chickens
address the psychographic wounds, but are a lot more affordable than
photo voltaic panels. Airing my dirty laundry (the cage does
need to be cleaned regularly) on Facebook, a friend in Germany responded
to my posts by turning me on to another friend's rants about becoming an
urban farmer: urbanchickens.net. More and more it seems I'm not the
trailblazer I thought I was. It's like finding out that the band
you "discovered" has a number one hit on the radio. Then you come
to the realization that you are now sharing a collective consciousness
and there is something really exciting about that. So if you have
gone down the same feathery road, I would love to hear about your experience
now considered pets in Ridgefield, Washington. Written by Ken
Vance. Reporter for The Reflector newspaper, based in Battle
Ground, WA. The City of Ridgefield has updated its Municipal
Code as it pertains to the regulation of animals. Among other things,
hens are now considered to be household pets. . . . .
The ordinance update included clarified animal control authority since
the City works with Clark County on matters of animal regulations. It also
updated licensing and registration requirements and fees. . . . .
Updates to the ordinance were made earlier this year regarding poultry.
chickens were banned in ordinance changes made in 2008, the ordinance now
allows up to five hens, which must be kept 40 feet back from the front
property line. Poultry can be closer than 100 feet from homes, but cannot
be a nuisance . . . . . Among other changes, the new
ordinance establishes a 30-day period within which an application for license
must be made after the acquisition of a new dog that is six months old
or older or has developed a permanent set of canine teeth. A new resident
also has 30 days to apply for a license of a dog that meets the same standard.
. . . . Dog licenses now must be obtained from the Ridgefield
Police Department to assure accurate animal and owner contact information.
In the process, photos will be taken of each dog to assist with identification.
This aides the police department in returning lost dogs to their owners
rather than having to take them to the Humane Society where a fee would
be paid for return of the dog, said Ridgefield police chief Carrie Greene.
. . . . Fees for dog licenses are $15 if not spayed or
neutered and $5 if spayed or neutered. There is no discount for senior
dog owners. . . . . “We really want to encourage people
to license their dogs so we have their information and can return the dogs
when they get loose, which they invariably do,’’ said Greene. . . .
. It is also now unlawful for any person to bring into
Ridgefield or to possess any exotic animal in the City. An exotic animal
is defined as “any animal which, when in its wild state, or due to its
size, habits, natural propensities, training or instinct, presents a danger
or potential danger to human beings and is capable of inflicting serious
physical harm upon human beings, and includes inherently dangerous mammals
and reptiles.’’ . . . . The ordinance also gives animal
control officials the ability to declare a dog to be potentially dangerous.
The finding of potentially dangerous must be based on one of the following:
the written complaint of a citizen who is willing to testify that the animal
has acted in such a manner, dog bite reports filed with the animal control
department, actions of the dog witnessed by any animal control officer
or law enforcement officer, the designation by another animal control authority,
or other substantial evidence. . . . . A declaration
of the determination that an animal is potentially dangerous must then
be made to the owner in writing. The owner can request a hearing. If the
designation is upheld, the owner will be required to license the dog for
an initial fee of $300. The annual renewal would be $100 and the owner
would also need to display a proper enclosure to confine the dog and have
a surety bond and a policy of liability insurance of at least $50,000 each.
. . . . The fine or penalty for infractions in the
new section of the Code include a $125 fine for failure to license, having
a dog at large, a nuisance pet animal, or pet animal on public property,
failure to remove fecal material, livestock or fowl at large. . . .
. It is now a misdemeanor for the unlawful removal of
a tag, the injury to person or animal, the failure to provide humane care
or failure to meet terms of a quarantine, cruelty to animals, confinement
or restraint of a pet animal, unlawful possession of an exotic animal,
unlawful release of a pet animal and violation of dangerous dog regulations.
|Gresham council gives OK to chickens ...... . . .By James Mayer,
The Oregonian ...... . . .December 01, 2013....... . . Gresham chicken
owners will be able to keep their birds while the city works up a set of
rules. The Rhode Island Red, "Baby Girl," is a pet and eats all the slugs
and spiders n their yard................... .The Gresham City Council
tonight reversed itself and tentatively approved an ordinance allowing
residents to keep up to three chickens. .................. .“I think
it’s so great,” said Bev Stout, holding her hen, Baby Girl, in her arms
outside the council chamber after the vote. “I’m so happy I don’t have
to get rid of her.” .................. .The council voted 4 to 3 to approve
the ordinance. A final vote is scheduled for Jan. 5. ..................
.The council voted against a similar ordinance on Oct. 20, by a 4 to 2
margin. .................. .The turnaround came after Councilor Shirley
Craddick said she would switch her vote to yes if the ordinance included
a permit system for keeping chickens. .................. .“For me, it was
never pro-chicken or anti-chicken,” Craddick said. “It was always about
the code, which should protect one neighbor’s livability from another neighbor’s
thoughtlessness.” .................. .A permit will allow people to have
chickens while at the same time providing an avenue for people who are
upset by chickens in their neighborhood. .................. .Also voting
for the chicken ordinance were Councilors Richard Strathern, Paul Warr-King,
and David Widmark, who was absent during the October vote. Voting no were
Mayor Shane Bemis and Councilors Josh Fuhrer and Carol Nielson-Hood. ..................
.None of the other councilors commented on the issue, but Bemis,
Fuhrer and Nielson-Hood previously expressed concern that allowing chickens
would detract from the city’s livability. .................. ."For everyone
who wants a chicken, there are four people around them who don't want chickens,"
Fuhrer said during a previous council discussion. ...... . . .
...... . . .The ordinance allows up to three chickens on lots with a
detached single family residence, but bans roosters. It requires chickens
to be kept in a run and inside a covered coop at night. The coop must
be at least 25 feet from other residences and 10 feet from the property
line. The ordinance includes nuisance standards for maintaining the coops
and chickens. .................. .The renewable permit will be for two
years. The staff will return Jan. 5 with a fee ordinance, which will be
$30 to $60 per flock. .......... .About two dozen chicken supporters
flocked to the council chamber for the debate, sporting stickers with
a picture of a chicken and the word “YES.” .......... .Ellie Wilson said
she was not old enough to vote, but urged the council to allow backyard
chickens. .................. .“They don’t bark or run after cats or eat
my Dad’s slippers,” Wilson said, adding, “I promise to be a responsible
chicken owner.” .................. .Allowing chickens is the one of the
most practical things the city can do to encourage sustainability, said
Jill Moss. Referring to the complaint that chickens make noise in the morning,
Moss said she has “light -proofed” her coop. .................. .“My chickens
don’t know it’s morning until I tell them it’s morning,” she said.
. . ..One resident testified against the proposal. .................. .Rick
Ginter said he spent $700 on an exterminator to rid his property of rats
attracted by his neighbor’s chickens. .................. .“I find it strange
that I would have to move to the country to escape farm animals,” Ginter
said. .................. .Bemis praised the chicken supporters from
the advocacy................ ."You have been the most passionate and
probably the most respectful of any group that has come before the
council," the mayor said.......... .--James Mayer
What are the meanings behind all the lables on all the different kind of eggs that you can buy? . . . . . . . . . . . . .Your guide to egg labels. Written by By Danielle Centoni, of The Oregonian newspaper staff. (Writer, editor and recipe developer in the FOODday department.) November 10, 2013. Link can be found here.
Certified Humane: (certifiedhumane.org):
Animal Welfare Approved: (animalwelfareapproved.org):
United Egg Producers Certified:
Vegetarian-fed: Feed does not contain animal byproducts. However, the hens will eat bugs if they find them.
Natural: There are no regulations or requirements for this label, so it can mean anything -- or nothing.
Fertile: These eggs were laid by hens who lived with roosters. The USDA says there is no nutritional difference between fertile and infertile eggs. However, the presence of roosters indicates the hens were likely not caged.
Omega-3 enriched: Hens are fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, usually by supplementing the feed with flax seed. The eggs typically have about twice the amount of omega-3s as regular eggs, but at about twice the price.
CHICKEN TRACTOR GALLERY
HEN HOUSE of the MONTH
THE SCOOP ON POOP