Friday, May 6, 2016

It is a Fowl Situation

It appears that the District of Columbia Department of Health picked on the wrong brood (does four really constitute a brood) of chickens when it issued an order on April 27th for them to be removed from a backyard. According to an article in the Washington Post titled, D.C. lawyers are suing the city to keep their four backyard chickens the Health Department received an anonymous complaint. 

The Post article appears pro-chicken because it lays out the logic and the laws which apparently are on the side of the chicken keepers. Apparently, the couple did "due diligence" before introducing the egg producing fowl into their yard by securing the agreement of immediate neighbors. And I noted, there was no mention of a rooster--which would definitely be an annoyance.

This is not the first time that backyard hens have made the news in the region. During July 2013, the Washington Post ran an article about people in some Northern Virginia counties working to allow backyard broods. That article, Backyard hens have residents clucking, describes the work being done to change laws to allow hens but not roosters to be kept in residential areas.

From my experience, children are a lot louder and more destructive than hens! The kids living in the townhouses next to me have knocked down one of my fences and regularly trespass in my yard. They are also extremely loud. I would much prefer a brood next door than the ear piercing screams of one of the children who cannot play quietly. The ice cream truck is another regular evening annoyance as well. 

Limits on the numbers of hens allowed in a residential brood do need to be established because some people just cannot be content not to have too much of a good thing. Additionally, town homes do not seem compatible with chickens either, things are just too close. But, stories abound of hundreds of cats or dogs being found for in homes--which is also against Health Code regulations. And so, with proper care and in limited quantities, I fully would fully support having hens next door!

Especially if they share the eggs!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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