Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ann Arbor, MI, considering urban chickens law

The City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan (pop ~113,000) is considering relaxing the ban on urban chickens in city limits, per the Ann Arbor News. (See Ann Arbor on a map).

Per the article, before the Council considers the proposal, they want to know among other things about any potential environmental impact related to animal waste.

Now, in my experience of owning both a Great Dane and two chickens, I'm always amused when I see naive arguments concerning the amount of waste generated by chickens. Our dog excretes more poop in a single bowel movement (he goes twice a day) than the girls do in a week.

In any case, the details of the proposed ordinance (thanks, Judy McGovern for summarizing them so well in the AAN article):
  • Would-be hen owners would need a permit and would be subject to noise laws.
  • Permits would be granted only to residents of single- or two-family homes.
  • Birds would have to provided with a covered enclosure and fenced or in that enclosure at all times.
  • Chicken coops would have to be 10 feet from any property line and no closer than 40 feet from any residential structure on an adjacent property. (Neighbors could agree to a waiver.)
  • Coops and feed would have to be secured to prevent problems with mice or other pests.
I especially like the neighbors' ability to waive the distance-from-adjacency requirement.

I'm not such a fan of the "enclosed at all times" provision, as that effectively negates their ability to earn their keep eating bugs and weeds.

Here's hoping Ann Arbor joins the ranks of the urban-chicken-friendly cities.

1 comment:

Peter & Rebecca Thomason said...

Take a look at http://thomasonfamilyfarm.blogspot.com to see what's really happening in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area with urban chic. Judy M actually left quite a bit out of her report. My other blog http://notmyplans.blogspot.com has a response to her article.

Best wishes,

Peter

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