I live in an old town outside of Pittsburgh, and am just waiting to start being dubbed "chicken lady." (But personally, I think I'm too young for the titie.) My husband and I went on a winery tour in VA at the beginning of the month, where the owner was telling us about these two adorable chickens she got her kids. They love to sit on their laps and be rubbed, and they eat all their bad bugs. Then the others on the tour informed me that people in cities are now getting chickens... That was only 22 days ago and feels like an eternity.
I started thinking maybe this would be great, or maybe it would be horrible. But first, I have to convince the city to allow me. In my research I will have to convince myself too. I think the being personally convinced took maybe 2 days. But learning enough about chickens, and the process to approval took a total of 20 days. 2 days ago, I brought the city 5 copies of the packet I put together. (One for the mayor and one for each city counsel member.)

My letter-
It seems that every TV station, news paper, and magazine in Pittsburgh has recently run stories on chicken ownership or other form of urban agriculture. The desire for “greener” more sustainable lives has gained momentum with fears from the unstable economy and learning where much of our food comes from. One way cities support this movement is by reconsidering their stance on chicken ownership.

For this reason, I was very happy to hear that you, Mr. Mayor, are gaining a reputation of progressiveness. Which, I believe, can serve as a great asset to our community. So I ask for your assistance in joining thousands of other backyard chicken owners.

How would the city benefit by allowing residents to raise chickens?
●People are drawn to cities that are forward-thinking, most of which have become chicken-friendly. Seattle, Washington’s successful standards regarding chicken ownership has set the bar for others nationwide. I have included a copy of section SMC 23.42.052 C of their Municipal Code to review.
●In an effort to reduce waste removal costs, the municipality of Diest in Flanders, Belgium gave 3 chickens to 2,000 homes. In one month, a single chicken can consume up to nine pounds of kitchen garbage and yard waste, which would otherwise end up at the curb on garbage day.

Why would someone like me want to raise chickens?
●Chickens eat insects- slugs, grubs, fleas, ticks, flies, stink bugs, earwigs, ants, termites and countless others insect pests.
●No need for chemical fertilizers, chickens help create some of the best compost.
●They are natural weed killers, eating weed seeds and the weeds themselves.
●Chickens provide a supply of delicious, healthy, fresh eggs.
●When raised properly, chickens can be wonderful loving pets.

Hopefully you are able to see the benefits of having these quiet animals within city limits. I have included basic ownership guidelines which the neighbors adjoining my property have signed with hope of your approval. I will be attending the next City Counsel Meeting, but will gladly meet with you to discuss the topic at an earlier time.

Proposed Guidelines for Chicken Ownership

No more than 4 chickens on a single property.
No roosters permitted.
Coop must be at least 20 feet from the doors or windows of any neighbor’s home.
Chickens must be contained at all times.
Droppings must be cleaned up regularly.
Chickens must not create a disturbance to neighbors in any way.

Under these guidelines, I would be happy to have chickens as my new neighbors.

Signed Address

(signed by all 4 neighbors who I share property lines with)

I also included
  • A copy of the cities current law.
  • Seattle's law as a sample of acceptance.
  • Patricia Foreman's "Chickens Working as Clucking Civic Employees"
  • Chicken FAQ from the Seattle Tilth
  • A page of pictures of chicken tractors
  • A page of pictures of the types of chickens I would like to get

Now I wait, and it is driving me crazy! It was the City Clerk who I left the information with, to pass on to the appropriate individuals. Should I call today and see if they have looked at it? Should I call tomorrow? Its almost 2 more weeks until the next City Counsel meeting, could they ever make a decision before that? Probably not. I have never been to one, and by looking at the agenda from the last one, I dont know if i will make it out alive. It looks sooooooo borring. But omg, if I have to present my agenda, what am I going to say? I need to wright a speech of under 2 mins. So far, everyone I have presented my idea to, I hand them the packet, and say, "look this over and let me know what you think." I think I am going to have a heart attack.

I just realized, one story I will have to compile is "why chickens will not be the pot belly pig fiasco of 15 years ago." I cant get past "theyre not 100 lbs and they dont oink."