Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Save a Chicken

There is a chicken, named Upsilon, at the Montgomery County Humane Society just down the road from me. She's up for adoption! For more information about this animal, call:Montgomery County Animal Control & Humane Society at (240) 773-5960Ask for information about animal ID number A310528.

Chicken Feature

There is a great special report all about keeping chickens in the city at! It seems that Mobile, Alabama is a hospitable place for chickens.

As for me, in Frederick, Maryland, it seems that I've run out of steam to pull together a presentation for the city council. If I had a group of folks to work with, things would be easier. Between finishing up my MA, opening an art center and working on the Eat Local Challenge, I'm swamped. The chicks might have to wait until spring.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

News from North Carolina

Chicken raisers can run afoul of zoning
"A Maryland woman has a blog called Urban Chicken Underground, dedicated to changing municipal laws and legalizing chickens. In Chapel Hill, residents have petitioned the Town Council to relax the town's chicken rules."

That Maryland woman would be me. I don't understand all of these "chicken complaints." I get to listen to annoying barking dogs all day. I don't like dogs, except for the Siberian husky that lives at our house. I certainly don't like other people's non-stop barking dogs. How is a little scratching and clucking worse than that? Heck, even if I had a rooster, he couldn't compete with the Harley engine revving down the street.

Bring on the roosters.

Chickens are, too, snuggly!

That AP reporter that I talked to some weeks ago actually DID write an article! The article is about the Urban Chicken Underground. The article claims that chickens aren't snuggly, but I disagree completely. I've spent a lot of time snuggling chickens in my life. (To the left is a picture of me snuggling with Gertrude the Guinea fowl!)

The article is also mentioned in another article in the Dallas News, Pet chickens don't ruffle feathers in the 'burbs!

The Urban Chicken Underground is even popular in Sweden! "29-├еriga Sarah Hempel Irani som har bloggen Urban Chicken Underground, k├дmpar f├╢r att det ska bli till├еtet att ha h├╢ns hemma ├дven n├дr man bor i staden."

Chickens at the Land O' Hempel in Olivet.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not a Chicken

Gertrude is not a chicken; she is a Guinea fowl. She is as cute as a chicken! Guinea fowl are really fascinating birds and when hand raised are very tame and very cute. She enjoys spending time with me and Ivan the Cat!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Is this the cutest chicken ever? I found this picture at There is a whole gallery there of cute chicken pictures!

Today in USA Today

Chicken owners in cities score coop coup

Molly Waisman, her 22-month-old son Arlo and husband David check for eggs in a chicken coop in the backyard of their home. The Madison, Wis., city council voted three years ago to allow residents to keep up to four chickens in their backyards. "Some people think it's pretty radical" to raise chickens in the city, Molly says, but the Waismans love the fresh eggs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Calling All Bloggers

I am looking for folks in Frederick, Maryland to be a part of the Urban Chicken Underground and this blog. Let's change the city code in favor of CHICKENS! Any takers?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Custom Coops

In Seattle, city chickens are living in their own mansions. Read this article from the Seattle Times.

As an urban chicken, you enjoy all the benefits of cosmopolitan Northwest living тАФ 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.)

Chickens in the City

This article from The Scientist talks about some of the chickenophiles in Madison, Wisconsin.

"A big part of our motivation came from our friends who had chickens in [their] backyard, and we saw them do it, and the eggs they got. We thought it was neat," says mom Elizabeth Arth. "We try to eat locally grown foods, and also, this is a way for our kids to understand where eggs come from."

From Stacey and Olivia

A dear reader has left snipits in the comments box from a wonderful presention that her ten-year-old daughter is giving to the city council. It is so valuable that I am going to re-print it here!

Why I think that we should be allowed to raise pet chickens, by Olivia.

1) Pet hens (no roosters of course!) are quieter than dogs or parrots, and when they are well-cared-for they DO NOT SMELL (just like any other pet).

2) I believe in helping the environment and sustainable living. Chickens are the ultimate тАЬReduce / Recycle / ReuseтАЭ because they eat garden scraps and then provide fertilizer for the garden AND FRESH EGGS! The organic eggs are healthier than store-bought ones and they donтАЩt waste fossil fuels transporting them from far away!

3) Over the past 5 years there has been a growing movement of тАЬurban chickensтАЭ. Both large cities and small towns are changing their zoning ordinances to allow a small number of PET chickens (not a farm or business) for each house. Locally, Cape Elizabeth allows them and Westbrook is changing their laws to allow them.

4) Pet chickens are fun and affectionate pets and they help bring the neighborhood together.

5) Raising animals is very educational and teaches responsibility and kindness. ItтАЩs good for the neighborhood community because kids get to see the chickens. I talked to 20 of my neighbors and all of them are 100% supportive and excited to have chickens in the neighborhood!

6) ItтАЩs good to be not so dependent on food from far away. Eat locally!

7) Chickens eat lots of mosquitoes, ticks and bugs. Good for the neighborhood!

8) My chickens will lead happy, healthy lives. They will be in an enclosed pen, though, and not roam onto anyone elseтАЩs yard (like some dogs and cats do!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Five Reasons

I am a huge eat local advocate. In fact, I am running an Eat Local Campaign in Frederick: As a component to this, I'd like to raise a few hens in my urban backyard for a number of reasons.
1.) It doesn't get any fresher than this.
2.) Diversifying the poultry population, in my opinion, reduces the risk of the possible spread of avian flu.
3.) Keeping chicken populations diversified ensures that chicken waste returns to the earth (via my garden) as nature designed and keep the Bay free of excess farm waste
4.) reducing carbon emissions from traveling to get eggs
5.) chickens are fun and cute!


According to the Code of the City of Frederick, there are to be no chickens:

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep and maintain within the city any livestock or keep or maintain, in any kind of enclosure whatsoever, any livestock, except on property zoned for agricultural uses or which was previously zoned as agricultural and has been continually and principally used for agricultural uses since it was annexed into the city. Any person owning or occupying real estate within the city which property is properly zoned and used for agricultural purposes, as previously set forth, shall be permitted to maintain properly secured enclosures for livestock if the same is not located within five hundred (500) feet of the nearest dwelling place. This section shall not apply to any person maintaining slaughterhouses and stockyards where livestock are kept only for a short period of time provided, however, that the property on which such slaughterhouse or stockyard is maintained is properly zoned for such use. Violation of this section is declared to be a municipal infraction. The penalty for violation shall be the sum of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per animal. (Code 1953 ┬з 3.8; Ord. No. G-80-12, ┬з 1, 7-17-80; Ord. No. G-97-44, ┬з 1, 11-20-97)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Urban Chicken Underground

Here in Maryland we talk a lot about saving the Bay. One of the largest polluters of the Bay is the commercial chicken farm. If we are serious about saving the Bay we need to get chickens out of the commerical farms and back into the backyards of rural and urban Americans. Trouble is, many city zoning laws prohibit backyard chickens. A family only needs 3-4 laying hens to produce plenty of eggs, eat the backyard bugs and fertilize the grass. So, we are starting a revolution called the Urban Chicken Underground!