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  • Guillermo Brown

    In my neighborhood (non-upper NW), lots of folks can’t even bring their dogs in when they’re barking for hours on end. Or pick up their poop in the backyard. And we think chickens are going to be properly cared for? Why is this a good idea again?

    • Anonthony

      +1. There are good reasons why keeping farm animals in the city has been outlawed in most places.

    • ah

      Right – regulations to control all people should be based on the failure of some to adhere at all to basic norms of living in society.

      • Patrick Division

        It’s been the DC M.O. for decades: Pander to the lowest common denominator. Shout out to District Court and MPD!!

      • Guillermo Brown

        It’s a little more complex than that, but yeah, in this case you gotta look at it that way.. If we were talking about, I dunno, where to keep your trash cans, and we were proposing a rule that because some people can’t maintain them “clean,” they have to be kept inside, then I hear ya. But we’re talking about chickens. Again, do we really need them? I get it. “I grew up in a rural area and we loved our chickens.” But this is DC. A city. Why? Or were you just arguing on an ideological basis?

      • James W.

        Well – yes. Regs are in place based on the failure of some to adhere to basic norms. Why do you find that rationale to be flawed? Otherwise we can just repeal our criminal laws since most people wouldn’t commit criminal activity with or without them.

        • ah

          It’s the “this is why we can’t have nice things” problem. A few people leave their dogs outside barking so that justifies a ban on dogs? Or chickens? That makes no sense – put reasonable regulations on things, not overly broad ones, and then enforce those regulations.

          I don’t live near any chickens, and I don’t know if the 200 foot buffer or whatever it is is enough, but surely some buffer is more reasonable than “no chickens for anyone”.

          • Pleasanter

            Yes, this. There should be regulations that harmonize folks’ desire to keep the pets/animals they want. No one’s talking about opening a full-fledged farm here.

          • textdoc

            “That makes no sense – put reasonable regulations on things, not overly broad ones, and then enforce those regulations.” — Yeah, but that would require D.C. to actually enforce regulations. In my experience, D.C. doesn’t do a great job of enforcing existing regulations in situations where residents’ actions/inactions affect their neighbors.

  • petworth_planted

    Not me. I’m ok with any size veggie garden, but no birds please. :P

    • DeanWillow

      Agree. Not going to win me over.

    • GBinCH

      I’ve not followed the debate. What exactly is the issue with backyard chickens? Noise? Hygiene? Disease?

      • Truxton Thomas


    • NoMiPa

      Agreed. I grew up with chickens in a rural setting, and can’t fathom why anyone would WANT them in their backyard.

      • Pleasanter

        Just because you can’t fathom it doesn’t mean that others feel the same way…I would never want a boa constrictor as a pet, but I know there are some people out there who do! :)

        I think this is fine with regulations as stated below. Chickens make a lot less noise than most dogs I know, and they need far less space.

        • NoMiPa

          Yes, different strokes and all that, and if they didn’t affect the neighbors I wouldn’t care what people do in their backyards. Chickens are just as loud as dogs, even without roosters (and depending on the individual animals involved). They also smell very strongly, regardless of how clean you keep the area. Maybe you could get away with it in one of the huge upper Northwest backyards, but it isn’t a good idea in large swaths of DC.

          • Pleasanter

            I know this is all anecdotal, but my dad lives next door to a family with chickens. They are less than 50 feet away from his house. I don’t smell anything, and the only thing I hear are faint clucks and scratching from time to time. The family also has dogs, and those are far noisier.

          • I agree with Pleasanter. I have a dog and chickens, and I like both, but for city living, the chickens are quieter and more useful, and really not a disturbance for people who keep up with them. Their eggs are better than dog eggs, they eat bugs and mice, and unlike dog poop, you can use chicken poop in compost. It makes no sense to allow people to keep dogs outside but not allow chickens, especially when they have the permission of their neighbors.

            That being said, so many people can’t take responsibility for cleaning up after their dogs or keeping them quiet, and those same kinds of people probably wouldn’t be able to responsibly care for chickens. So the question for me is more about good regulations and enforcement for people keeping any domesticated animal rather than making unreasonable bans on a certain species.

        • James W.

          If you want a boa in your house feel free. If you want a boa in your hard, we need to talk. LIkewise with chickens. I fail to see how something I’m unwilling to allow in my house or sleep on my bedroom floor is somehow a “pet”

          • James W.

            hard = yard

          • Pleasanter

            For the same reasons that people have horses as pets. They are outdoor pets…

    • anon7

      I support Mayor Bowser taking a hard line on this issue. I also think she has a lot more support from the residents than the papers suggest. And outside the generously sized yards of upper northwest, keeping chickens poses a health risk. #uptownproblems

      • Deebs

        that’s the point of current regulation, isn’t it? you can’t have chickens in DC unless they’re a certain distance from any habitable structure, which eliminates pretty much everything besides those homes in upper northwest.

  • DcbornNraised

    I’m down, BUT with regulations. They should have a pen, a set amount of space, and keep it clean. We ALL know not everyone will keep their yards sanitary–and dirty chicken yards are the worst (I am assuming). Anyway, by the time all the rules and regulations go through having a chickens won’t be trendy anymore.

  • stacksp

    Bribery via a free egg lol…

  • Dupont East

    Wait until the coyotes in Rock Creek start feeding on them. THEN we will hear an uproar.

  • Kingman Park

    Could I offer you a nice egg in this trying time?

    • samanda_bynes


  • TJ

    If we can’t feed ourselves, it’s over

  • Cluck

    Looks like the chickens won the first round – Bowser took it out of her budget yesterday. Vincent Gray stepping up for fur and feathers!

    • ah

      Now, I do have a problem with the free-range cats roaming our neighborhood. When did that become a thing – outdoor cats with no apparent fencing/leashing/control?

      • textdoc

        For what it’s worth, I’d say it’s comparatively recently that indoor-only cats (at least in houses — I suppose cats in apartments have usually been indoor-only just because of the logistics) have become “a thing.”
        PoPville brouhaha from March 2016 about outdoor cats:

  • navyard

    I would love for you to have chickens in backyards in your neighborhood.

    I would also go out of my way to sign your petition for an egg (and yes, I can be bought that cheep-cheeply)

    • Sounds like the CDC is just saying wash your hands after holding a chicken, which is just good horse sense.

      • So I have to wash my hands every time I go outside because neighbo’s chicken poop dries up and blows over into my yard? I totally endorse urban farming. Vegetables are good. Goats could be good (don’t know their exact poop details, but little moist pellets don’t seem as bad as stinky Chicken plops.) I really want to like backyard chickens – but all research (and friend’s personal experience) tells me it isn’t a good, sensible or practical thing. It’s basically a “Portlandia” kind of thing.

        • Elvis’s Mom

          But you should probably wash your hands anyway, because you can’t keep squirrels, raccoons, and birds from defecating in your yard. I mean, if people were having dozens of chickens that were a health hazard, that’s one thing, but we’re talking about a few pet chickens that are being cared for properly. Seems like a non-starter in terms of things Mayor Bowser should focus on. Perhaps she’s like to turn her attention to, say, school lottery corruption?


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