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Thread: Regulating urban livestock

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Regulating urban livestock

    NYT article - Cities Consider allowing urban livestock.

    The article mentions several cities that have recently made changes to their Code to allow certain types of livestock within the city limits.

    Has your municipality made a change? Has there been an increase in requests for such a change?

    I like the idea but think there are definite obstacles and concerns with allowing urban livestock. Would code enforcement have to learn about proper Coop construction? Does Animal Control or the Humane Society oversee the proper treatment of livestock?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Interesting. I wonder what individual departments of environmental health has to say about this? Where I am they regulate the number of hooved animals per acre, would they do the same in instances such as this?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Lots of urban chickens and goats here (along with the Seattle and Portland areas), though I think it's more of a "Look how green I am!" thing. SF has always allowed it, and it hasn't ever been much of a problem. A guy behind my building has a goat in his backyard. It doesn't seem to be much of a problem (it's more of a pet than livestock). I've met a few people from time to time with a chicken or two in a coop in their backyard. I could see that being a potential problem, though I haven't heard any bad stories.

    Funny article from Slate last summer about the movement:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2192934/

    And the definitive blog for urban chicken aficianados:

    http://www.urbanchickens.net/
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  4. #4
    I think the objection to roosters is the noise. So chickens, pigs, cows etc would be pretty benign (or am I just showing my ignorance - having never met any of these animals)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Albuquerque has historically allowed chickens and I'm not sure what else. I know in the unincorporated areas of the county (some of which are fairly urbanized) cows, sheep, goats and horses are common. We are not a particularly dense city, so nuisance issues are perhaps not as big as in other places.

    If you go to this site: http://urbanchickens.org/ you can access a listing of municipalities that allow the keeping of chickens. The organization is run out of Albuquerque where this is an increasingly popular thing.

    As for the noise of roosters, most places do restrict them (here you can only have one, if I recall correctly), but as the director of the above organization told me recently, if there are no roosters, hens will often take on the rooster role, including crowing. Who knew?

    The popularity of chickens is, I think, directly related to an increased interest in local food production and the recession. We have seen a very big interest in gardening, including community gardens, here. I think people view producing some of their own food as a tangible way to impact their household budget.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    There are chickens in Budapest Hungary a city of almost 3 million. I have heard a few roosters crowing, but I'll take that over a dog barking, on and on.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    More urban chickens (or not) in the news

    Shorewood — Chickens will not be allowed to roost in backyards here, a committee of the Village Board decided Monday night after residents passionately pleaded both for and against egg-laying hens in the densely populated North Shore community.

    "At the end of the day," said Trustee Jeff Hanewall, "we have residents who very much don’t want chickens next door. And I do not want to pit neighbors against each other. There are a lot of social issues- .. .. .- You also have to have it highly regulated to keep it safe."

    A majority of the board’s Judiciary, Personnel & Licensing Committee decided to end the chicken discussion, which started last December when 9-year-old Carenna Weinhardt wrote a letter to village officials, citing several reasons why chickens should be allowed in Shorewood, including that it could be beneficial for residents to produce their own eggs during hard times.

    EDIT: From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

    Board member Dawn Anderson suggested a pilot project that would allow a small number of residents to keep chickens with strict rules, such as seeking neighbor approval. But board member Ellen Eckman said Monday night that she opposed even a pilot project, adding, "I would not want to have neighbor asking neighbor for permission."

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    This is a hot topic in my city as well. A recent informal poll on the local newspaper's website showed about 70% support for the idea, but I get the feeling that the city commission is against it.

    I think having two or three chickens in a coop in the backyard would be unobtrusive. Heck, my dog poops more in one showing than a few chickens would all day, and the dogs barking across the street every time I step out my front door are much more annoying than a few chickens clucking. I would be against roosters being permitted, though.

    I'm also against the idea of needing your neighbor's permission. Either you permit it or you don't. Reduce the ambiguity. This is a case of "what if", and people are scared of what they don't know. I'm sure the furor would die down when people realize the difference between a chicken coop and a pig farm.

  9. #9
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    urban chickens

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Albuquerque has historically allowed chickens and I'm not sure what else. I know in the unincorporated areas of the county (some of which are fairly urbanized) cows, sheep, goats and horses are common. We are not a particularly dense city, so nuisance issues are perhaps not as big as in other places.

    If you go to this site: http://urbanchickens.org/ you can access a listing of municipalities that allow the keeping of chickens. The organization is run out of Albuquerque where this is an increasingly popular thing.

    As for the noise of roosters, most places do restrict them (here you can only have one, if I recall correctly), but as the director of the above organization told me recently, if there are no roosters, hens will often take on the rooster role, including crowing. Who knew?

    The popularity of chickens is, I think, directly related to an increased interest in local food production and the recession. We have seen a very big interest in gardening, including community gardens, here. I think people view producing some of their own food as a tangible way to impact their household budget.
    I don't see a big deal if there is a maximum number of 2-3 hens in an urban environment. They are a good source of food and manure, and are small. People can keep parrots and cockatiels, so what's wrong with chickens?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I am looking at the concept as part of our sustainability program. I worry about the 2% of the population that will abuse the regulations creating an enforcement nightmare.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    This issue came up just yesterday - whether chickens were allowed in a county-approved subdivision that prohibited the keeping of livestock, unless it is a 4-H project. The Montana Code Annotated defines "livestock" as cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits. Chickens are classified as "poultry." In the City of Helena you can keep chickens. Hooved livestock, probably not.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Since there are some nice looking chickens living down the road from us and I often threaten Mrs. Cardinal with rasing our own bees, goats,sheep and chickens, I decided to look it up. The code has some ambiguities, but it looks like I can keep three chickens. There is no discussion of bees. I will not be able to keep livestock, though, as that requires five acres and pasture at least 50 feet from a property line.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We just amended our code to allow up to 4 chickens (no roosters) on a lot of 5,000 sf, more on bigger lots. Also one pot bellied pig and up to three grown dogs and or cats. One horse or cow or sheep or llama per 10,000 sf lot area on lots of 20,000 sf or more. No pigs anywhere (except that lone pot bellied pig), no pea fowl.
    Seldom right, never in doubt

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