Monday, February 11, 2008

Urban Chickens

Oh, I do wish we were allowed to keep chickens here in the District of Columbia. I can't think of anything that would bring the nation's capitol more down to earth. Plus, we'd have the benefit of some of the most nutritious protein on the planet.

Sadly, chickens are not allowed in this city. But they are in others. You can raise chickens in Brooklyn, for instance, and on Staten Island. There's even a website called Backyard that will tell you everything you need to know about how to start your own flock.

Now comes a proposed ordinance in Missoula, Montana, that would permit raising chickens there and it has folks all stirred up on both sides. Here's a short film documenting the controversy.


Pattie said...

Don't get me going on chickens, Ed! You know how badly I want them!

onestraw said...

I am seriously considering a (chicken) tractor load or two at our market gardens this year for eggs and soil fertility. I am also very much interested in pursuing some Guinea hens for beetle (and tick!) patrol. Still researching. I would love to have them here in my HOA -but it is strictly not allowed.

Currently smitten with Rhode Island Reds or Dominiques.

Ananse said...

Ha, ha! Madison allows chickens - there was a big uprising not too long ago. 4 chickens/household, as long as they're not to close to the neighbors and smell-free. (Not a demand made of dogs, I might point out.) A reasonable number of my neighbors have them, too. They should be the first choice of gardeners and self-sufficientists and foodies everywhere.

WashingtonGardener said...

Ed - can you do some digging on this and the exact DC laws? I wonder WHEN it became illegal to have your own chicken in the District? I just talked to a homeowner near Tenleytown whose house is the former chicken farm of NW DC - he claims the previous owners sold eggs at the farmer's mkt where Whole Foods now sits at 14th & P. And that they also sold from their front yard. When and why were chickens expelled from DC? Got to be a good story there.

Ed Bruske said...

Pattie, are chickens legal where you are?

Rob, you always seem to drill right to the nut of the issue and have at least three solutions for every problem. I wish I had your energy, but do go on with your chickens!

Ananse, we'd love to hear more about what's happening in Madison, home of the world's largest farmers market. Are you allowed to slaughter your chickens, or just collect the eggs?

Kathy, I remember when there was a huge poultry market on 14th Street. Was it near P Street? I hope I am not spreading urban myth about chickens being illegal in D.C. But that had always been my operating impression. What I'll do is go down to the library and look it up in the municipal regs. Expect a report here in the not too distant future. Thanks for the tip.

BrooklandJess said...

My heart sank to read this because I've been trying to figure out for certain what the chicken status was in DC. I've haphazardly looked in the DC Code for anything specific and I haven't unearthed anything yet. (Likely a result of my unscientific searching.) Knowing that Ed was functioning on assumption suddenly gives me (modest) hope that maybe it's not expressly forbidden. How can we find out?

Ed Bruske said...

BJ, I think a trip to the Washingtoniana room at Martin Luther King library should answer this question. I will gladly admit error if it turns out we can, in fact, raise chickens in D.C.

DenS said...

dang, that makes three little compostions for this post which I've managed to lose 'cause of my own lack of computer savvy, and this durn library computer's lousy and or strange server or idiosyncrasies.