the state

– of chicken rights. by vastate
Monday, 1 December 2008, 16:52
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

anyone interested in chicken rights?


several of our neighbors have attempted backyard chicken operations, only to be reported by other, less-tolerant neighbors.  we’re not talking roosters here.  just some egg-laying hens.  quiet, egg-laying hens.



there will be a meeting next monday to discuss a proposal to make in-town chickens legal.  apparently, it is currently illegal to have agricultural animals on city-zoned property within harrisonburg city limits.

these restrictions are very different than even most metropolitan cities.  in seattle, for example, one could happily raise up to 5 hens and no roosters in their backyard.  nyc has a legal rooftop chicken population.  tucson has a thriving, dedicated chicken community.  (check out our friend’s blog, which is dedicated to the topic.)

urban-chickens1we were thinking of converting our back shed…

so, if you too are interested in chicken rights, send us a line and we’ll forward the time/place information of the meeting.

for being the poultry capital of the east coast, and tolerating so much disgusting abuse of animals and workers involved in this huge industry, one would hope that the ‘burg will open it’s backyards to a more humane chicken operation.



11 Comments so far
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que viva las gallinas!!! sounds like a great idea! i look forward to hearing about how it goes and what comes of it. near as i can tell in Tucson, one is allowed to have up to 24 hens without violating code, but if the neighbors don’t like it (ie. complain), then any poultry and bird housing must be at least 50 feet away from the neighbors’ houses.

just an aside, one would think that living in a town like h’burg where it permanently smells of chicken processing plants that it would be pretty understandable to allow live chickens in your yard…i’m just sayin.

Comment by Matthew Lowen

I’d love to raise a few chickens for eggs – we bought our first house this spring, and the previous owners had chickens. I was excited to get some chickens of our own, before I discovered it wasn’t legal, and I’m not brave enough to do it secretly. But I would be thrilled if it were legal, and would love to attend a meeting!

Comment by Sarah

There are some great little stories about chickens on one of the recent This American Life radio shows. For instance, did you know “Chicken” (not “the chicken”) is God?

Comment by Kathleen Temple

pues si! que viva las gallinas!

Comment by vastate

I know of three households NE section of town that are interested in having a few hens. I will forward them a link. Good Luck!

Comment by Tim

Yay! We are in the process of moving to Harrisonburg from Charlottesville and were horrified about the idea of having to get rid of our little brood. I hope this works out, our girls are like part of our family!!!

Comment by Rian Dovis

did anyone go? what’s the update?

Comment by vastate

50 years ago, it was quite common for Harrisonburg residents to raise chickens in their yards. My grandparents had a small coop out back on West Gay.

Comment by Alison

[…] to university with them.  They also occaisionally write about the really important things like chickens and sustainability as well as what they taste like Peruvian style.  All very good […]

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