urban fowl

Check out this post about a current debate in Cambridge over backyard chickens and ducks, and then visit the owners’ website to sign a petition to support the keeping of “a reasonable number of hens on residential property.”

This issue will be addressed by the Cambridge Zoning Board of Appeals this Thursday.


7 responses to “urban fowl

  1. Cambridge needs to step up and pass a chicken ordinance. In Feb. 2009, Portland, ME passed an ordinance allowing residents to keep up to 6 hens on their property. The City Council received over 150 letters in support of chickens. Backyard chickens should not be addressed as accessory uses. This leaves too much discretion with the permit granting authority. If Cambridge wants to live up to its reputation, it needs to specifically allow the people what they want- locally nurtured eggs that stand firm when you place them in the pan!

  2. Thanks for the legal input.

    Honestly, if something like this can’t pass in Cambridge, that doesn’t leave a lot of hope for other cities. Here’s hoping that people mobilize and show their support!

  3. Is the issue that this type of livestock attracts other less desirable creatures. That can pose health risks in an urban setting.

    • Yes, there are concerns that the birds would attract mosquitoes and rats. However, the owners have taken precautions to ensure that rats can’t access the birds, eggs, or their food, and their yard was inspected and no evidence of rats was found. The birds may actually deter rats, and eat mosquito larvae. Guidelines could be put in place ensuring that those who keep birds on their property do so responsibly, as they have been in other cities.

  4. UPDATE: The Board denied the appeal to keep the chicken and ducks last night. The owner plans to take up the issue with the city council.

  5. Yeah. I think the Animal Control Ordinance deals with the health risks and the Zoning Ordinance deals with the land use impacts. If an accessory use is too large (noise, smell, visual, traffic, environmental, etc.) in relation to the primary use, then presumably it can have an adverse impact on neighbors.

    Did the ZBA post a decision? I can’t find one yet.

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