Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Durham, NC, urban chickens efforts (update)

The News & Observer reports the Durham City Council voted on Monday (Feb 1) to postpone, yet again, the matter of legalizing chickens in city limits.

Seventeen people spoke in favor of urban chickens in Durham. It appears councilman Howard Clement's desire to hear from a more socioeconomically diverse crowd was honored as...
Activist Victoria Peterson and Lavonia Allison, president of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People made impassioned statements against changing the law to permit chickens.

"We do not need chickens in our backyards," Peterson said.

Proponents of backyard chickens included Raleigh City Councilman Rodger Koopman, who has three of his own and said Raleigh has heard no complaints since allowing the practice.

I'd really love to know why Peterson and others do not want to legalize chickens. What kind of stereotypes are they carrying with them to this argument? I wish the reporting was more comprehensive on listing out the details of the opposition as I think common sense could help defang their concerns (if we knew them).

On top of that, the proposed Durham ordinance seems very stringent, with measures to govern how people keep their urban chickens: one would need to obtain a "limited agriculture permit" and get a building permit for the coop. Flocks would be limited to 10 hens (no roosters), and, my favorite clause: "the amount of chicken manure kept on site would be limited to two cubic feet and kept in a waterproof container."

Hmmm... not sure how this collect-and-contain process would work exactly in our own backyard. All our manure gets composted regularly in our (non-waterproof) compost bin. And I realize my math skills are weak on this, but how many marble-sized droppings would it take to make two cubic feet of manure? I don't think our two hens create that much manure in two weeks!

UPDATE: Bull City Rising has a great detailed blog post about what transpired in the council meeting.

1 comment:

badgerpendous said...

I just read through the accounts of the meeting and the comments on that site. This is fascinating, and a bit scary though it does provide some insight into the process.


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