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: www.eatlocalfrederick.com. 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!