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Chickens - bigbumble
April 25th, 2011
04:29 pm

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Chickens
There seems to be a movement toward local production of food. Several cities in Michigan have been allowing the keeping of a limited number of chickens at single family homes. Tonight the City of Otsego Planning Commission will discuss a request to allow raising chickens in the city. I am a commissioner.

What do you think. Should chickens be allowed in a city?

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:gundo
Date:April 25th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
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The courageous and the chickens should both be allowed to live in the city.
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From:bigbumble
Date:April 26th, 2011 01:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm left thinking of the movie, "Chicken Run". What do we do with courageous chickens?
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From:catsittingstill
Date:April 25th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Well, on the one hand I like the idea of local production of food, and I think it may become more popular as gas prices rise.

On the other hand, chickens are not silent. And they can stink. How likely that is to bother the neighbors is probably going to be dependent on how close they are to a neighbor's property, how many are penned up in one place, and what the social expectations are in the neighborhood.

I suppose you could always try it as an experiment for a year and see what people think.
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From:bigbumble
Date:April 26th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
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There is a law in Michigan, the Right to Farm Act, that says once somebody legally starts a farm operation it is very difficult to stop it. This makes it worrisome to try even a temporary experiment.
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From:catsittingstill
Date:April 26th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Oh, hmm. File that under "unintended consequences."

Maybe specify that "pets" can include chickens, but they are not farm animals? If your pet gives eggs, okay, as long as your pet doesn't bother the neighbors?

Of course, that may make it problematic if someone wants to eat their pet at the end of the year because it isn't giving enough eggs.

Maybe specify that chickens have to be indoor pets? Like robin_june's chicken? That would mean the owners have to deal with any noise and smell before the neighbors are bothered.
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From:acmespaceship
Date:April 25th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Good question. It's legal to keep chickens in New York City and Chicago, so I don't think population density should be an issue. Some places allow hens but not roosters for fear of waking up the neighbors. Some set a limit on the number of chickens. You'll need some mechanism to enforce good husbandry, but you probably already have laws about maintaining pets so they do not create a nuisance and the animals are not neglected.

Here is a roundup of local laws, although the source is obviously pro-chicken: http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/chickenlaws.html

This is an issue we're beginning to discuss in my suburb. I'm leaning in favor of the chickens. If we allow someone to keep a dog kennel (and dogs are bigger, noisier, and create more waste than chickens) then I think we should try chickens and see what happens.
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From:archiver_tim
Date:April 26th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
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I can see allowing three or four hens. No rosters. Questions could center on whether egg or chicken harvest is for family consumption only, or can eggs be sold? Given to neighbors? Trade? Could this bring in start-up businesses? Like on-site slaughter/dressing, delivery of young chicks, feed and such. It would be interesting if Michigan's technology universities and MSU's farming knowledge tech could be combined on how best to build a hen house (such as, solar cells, LEDs, natural ventalation, cooling, heating) without costing more than household production would save.
Could collectives allow higher numbers to be raised in one spot.

Yes, get the oil out of the eggs.
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From:archiver_tim
Date:April 26th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)

I did say something about this a few years ago.

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CHICKEN INVESTMENT (Here's The Return)

original words & music by Clif Flynt, 1985 
('Til The Geese Return)
New words by Tim Ryan, July 1987 
copyright 1987, 2011

   Em      D             C         Em
My son you know where pet chickens go
 Em      D         Em
Feed my family and I
       Em       D         C       Em
For on Sunday, lo, a fine fest we throw
Em      D          Em
Feed my family and I
          G D C D
Son don't cry
          Em
Son don't cry

        Em       D              C         Em
For the chickens die, twist the necks and sigh
 Em      D         Em
Swing my ax up high
       Em     D            C      Em
So hey little guy, you can have a thigh
Em       D     Em
Swing my ax up high
          G D C D
They must die
          Em
They must die

         Em       D            C        Em
Now with feathers gone, dinner won't be long
 Em         D        Em
Here in the pan they lie
        Em        D          C     Em
And the skin will burn 'lest we do turn
Em          D        Em
Here in the pan they lie
          G D C D
They will fry
          G D C D
They will fry
          G D C D
They will fry
          Em
They will fry

Now, I don't know for chording. I used a Nova 10 songbook that was put together and edited by MEW (has LJ id), so chord come from her, or from Clif. I think Robin (has LJ id) also checked out the chording, but I would not know if my voice and guitar would get along. After all, I did write it for a female voice.
Song was first sung at RiverCon, Louisville, KY, home of KFC.
To this day when I hear geese overhead, I wonder if they will wreak their revenge.
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From:robin_june
Date:April 26th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)

Chickens can work out well in a city.

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I kept a chicken in a city (East Lansing). I caller her "Gallus" and she gave us an egg every 26 hours, and didn't crow. She lived in the house, until I took her outside on a nice day and some frat boys stole her. I was unhappy because she was a pet, and also because those eggs were a significant part of our diet at the time.

Chickens would be a problem in a city that prohibits slaughtering, trapping, or otherwise harassing animals, such as the one I live in now (where catching the annual cold-weather-induced influx into the house of wild mice, is technically against the law). Such a law would prohibit making use of chicks that grow up to be noisy or pestiferous roosters.
Also, chicks are notoriously hard to determine the sex of. Some breeds have a sex-linked indication in the length of their flight feathers bred into them, to make poultry management easier, but not all chicks come with that built-in. So, chances are that non-farm people who buy chicks may end up with roosters that have to be dealt with.

The Spousal Unit was a poultry science major; he's working the evening shift for a few weeks, or I'd be referring the question to him and posting his answers. If you have any questions come up, though, I can pass them through.
From:debber5
Date:April 27th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
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Well you do need to watch your step around them. They do provide fertilizer and they have an attitude.
I speak from experience. My grandmother used to raise them when I was little. I was glad on occasion to know that one of the chickens was dinner.
From:debber5
Date:April 27th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
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The Right to Farm Act reminds me of a story that happened in southern Kalamazoo County sometime in the 1980's, I believe. A family from a city (I don't remember which one) moved across the road from an operating pig farm that had been in existance for several decades. The prevailing winds from the west blew the scent over the road toward the new house. (Yes, from what I remember, the new neighbors had been warned of the odor before purchasing the land.) I believe they took the pig farmers to court on charges of disturbing the neighbors (it was a hot and humid Michigan summer), and I believe the new neighbors lost the legal battle.
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