Friday, October 16, 2009

A Chicken in Every Yard

Hens in an urban backyard with wire chicken run in the background

The City Council of St. Paul voted yesterday to make it a little easier to raise backyard chickens in the city, but not too easy.

Council Member Russ Stark had introduced a motion to remove the current requirement to get consent from 75 percent of your neighbors within 150 feet of your yard, as long as you plan to have only three hens and no roosters. The Council voted this down.

Brown henStark's motion also proposed to decrease the registration fee from $72 to $27, and this was passed. Of the two barriers to chicken-keeping, this was clearly the more unfair of the two. Anyone can knock on their neighbors' doors, but $72 is a lot to pay for a few chickens.

I've known at least four families who had chickens in their city yards, and all have been very happy with them (and they all have funny stories to tell). The chickens have good lives, and they don't disrupt anyone else.

I doubt that I would seriously consider having chickens at my own house (no fences combined with relatively busy street and alley traffic seems like a bad mix). But I hope others who are interested will be encouraged by the decreased cost. The interweb appears to have tons of information on backyard chickens.

Two black and white hens perched on a fence
The Pioneer Press provided good coverage of the issue both before and after the vote.


Unemployed Dragon said...

This is great to see. I love the advent of this "urban farming". Some friends have chickens and I'm learning that they are very cool, fun critters to have around. And the fresh eggs are amazing.

Ms Sparrow said...

I would love to have chickens too. Like you, I would have no place for them but they are such fun to watch. During migration season, we get White-throated Sparrows stopping by. They scratch around like little chickens and are a delight to watch.