Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Urban Chicken ordinance updates

Good news for the folks in Missoula, Montana (see my previous funny video post)! The New West reports:
Missoula City Council’s Public Safety and Health committee Wednesday morning approved the urban chicken ordinance, including an amendment to require annual $15 permits, sending the contentious proposal to the Council floor for a final vote Monday evening.
Interesting to note that one of the councilman tried to add an amendment requiring perspective urban chicken farmers to get permission from all their neighbors before getting their chickens in order to "keep good neighbors." His motion failed.

So, things look promising that urban chickens will soon be legal in Missoula!

Wish the news in Chicago were as rosy. The Council votes tonight on whether to ban chickens in city limits, and the AP is reporting that the prospects don't look good, as the critics with their claims that chickens are "noisy, draw rodents and spread disease" misinformation seem to be overwhelming the egg lovers. Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath. (Stay tuned!)
UPDATE: The AP reports that the Chicago City Council has held off on their vote and sent the chicken ban back to committee. Per the Sun Times: "The delay might have something to do with Mayor Daley, who sounds as if he's against the chicken ban. 'Let's be realistic. A lot of ethnic people do keep chickens. If you grew up in Chicago, you know that,' he said."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

it's a dirty job sexing chicks

Via the marvels of Malaysian TV, I was able to catch an episode of Dirty Jobs where Mike Rowe visited the McMurray Hatchery to learn how to sex chicks. I just can't get away from chickens, no matter how far I travel.

Interesting techniques they employee to sex the chicks: by checking the feathers at the tips of their wings or by the "squirt and invert" method (you'll have to watch to see what I mean).

Thanks to a little internet magic, I can share the Dirty Jobs episode with you right here and save you all the travel and jet lag of happening upon it yourself:

Back in 2005 when the episode first aired, McMurray Hatchery was churning out 80,000 chicks a week. I wonder what they're up to now?

Oh, and if the above embedded video doesn't work for you, try this link.

Monday, December 10, 2007

don't ask, don't tell: chooks in Duluth, Minn

The Duluth News Tribune has a nice story today of the underground urban chicken movement in Duluth, Minnesota, trying to get legitimate.

There’s a small group in the city — a handful to a dozen, depending on the rumors — who live in fear of having their secret revealed. They will discuss their secret only with other secret-keepers, the only ones who can be trusted, because they know what could happen if it becomes public.

According to the Duluth city charter, it's illegal to raise chickens in any Duluth residential zone. And that's what the chicken fans are trying to change.

There's a poll attached to the story asking "Should chickens be allowed within Duluth city limits?" and as of this writing, the vote is 122 for and 32 against. (Feel free to vote in it yourself!)

There's also a (as of now short) discussion forum for registered users to chime in with their views, and it seems as though the usual "no cock-a-doodle-doo near me!" and "they smell and their feed will attract rats!" dissenting views have been duly posted. For the most part, however, it seems the more rational pro-poultry heads are prevailing.

As I think to how much noise Sophia and ZsuZsu make (which isn't much, to be honest), I don't know how successful we'd be at hiding our chicken farming ways if it was illegal here in Redwood City. Maybe with enough fresh "hush eggs" we could keep our neighbors from ratting us out.

However, outside the occasional loud squawking, I don't really see how our birds are impacting those around us except in beneficial ways. The only folks who seem hesitant about chickens in a backyard are those few friends of mine who grew up on a farm where there were LOTS of chickens (and roosters) with the attendant smells and sounds and unpleasantness.

With just a handful of chooks, the sights and smells and sounds are easily maintained.

Seems to me the fears around urban chicken farming are more imagined than real.

Here's hoping the Duluth residents can push through the irrational resistance so as to own their chickens in the open.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

our third 50 pound bag of feed

Just recording the fact I bought our third fifty pound bag of feed this week. We'll likely need to break it open this weekend.

This means they're consuming about seven pounds of food per week (at 24 cents per pound in bulk) to generate a dozen eggs. That's $1.68 a dozen... still an unbeatable price for yard-fresh eggs!

Early nightfall = no see chooks

With the time change and nightfall coming before I make it home from work each day, I don't get any quality time with the chickens during the week anymore.

Used to be I'd come home from work, grab a drink and go relax in the backyard as the girls free-ranged around me.

Now that it's dark when I get home, I don't venture out in the backyard after work, so the only time I see them is on the weekends when I'm cleaning the coop.

I feel bad because it means Left Coast Mom is blessed with day-to-day duties on the egg collecting and compost heaping of poop, which was by no means my design last Spring when we got them. But that's where we're at.

The good news is: we're stil getting a full complement of a dozen eggs a week, and the girls show no sign of molting. In fact, they're looking more and more mature every time I see them now: wattles and crown are in full display, and they carry themselves around the yard like they own the place.

Unfortunately, I won't see the girls this weekend, as I'm off to Kuala Lumpur on a business trip tomorrow night to retun eight days later.

By my calculations, that'll be at least 14 eggs from now. Look forward to seeing them in the fridge when I return.

If I find anything chook-y in KL on my trip, rest assured I'll blog about it. See you when I return!


Related Posts with Thumbnails