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The Home Front Asks

How do you feel about chickens for neighbors?

Recently, I was flipping through the latest issue of a promotional magazine from a big box home improvement store and found instructions on how to build your own backyard chicken coop. I’m sensing the idea of keeping your own urban chickens is growing in popularity, just as the push for local, organic and sustainable food also grows.

I even found a Facebook page dedicated to promoting backyard chickens and the altering of Alexandria city code to make fowls easier to keep. Currently, city code states the following regarding keeping fowls:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or allow to be kept within the city, within 200 feet of any residence or dwelling not occupied by such person, any fowl. The word "fowl," as used in this section, shall include, but is not limited to, chickens, hens, roosters, ducks, geese, pigeons or any domesticated barnyard bird.” (Code 1963, Sec. 4-2)

Without a large plot of land, current city code precludes most residents from owning backyard chickens.

Jill Ray May 09, 2011 at 08:28 PM
For more information on the Urban Chicken movement in Alexandria, see this short documentary on the subject at: http://vimeo.com/18479880
Peter May 09, 2011 at 09:06 PM
I grew up having chickens in our back yard. It was great! The fresh eggs were unbelievably delicious and we also used them for meat as well which could not be beat. I know there would probably be some resistance to slaughtering a chicken in our little urban neighborhood, but it would be totally worth having chickens just for the eggs. Plus having them roam around the yard is a great way to control insects. I am absolutely for the movement, but unfortunately I don’t think my dog would be very appreciative to us housing her feathered enemies. I guess it’s better than squirrels!
Adam Gerard May 10, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Funny timing because I just ran across another Del Raysian (?) who has several chickens, illegally, in their backyard. The person told me years ago there was a movement to try and develop a process for making the ownership of urban chickens legal in Alexandria. The person even said there was some support from local legislators, but it fell flat in the end. Not sure how accurate that is, but I was surprised to hear that owning backyard chickens is illegal in Alexandria since I know other cities, even locally, do allow it. Sort of related, I was driving through a neighborhood in outer Philadelphia and saw a turkey run across a busy street. It was funny to see though I wonder if that will eventually be a regular sight.
p May 11, 2011 at 12:56 AM
I am all in favor of chickens, well talen care of, of course!!!

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