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Chickens Coming Soon To Urban Milwaukee

Milwaukee will begin a one-year trial period for permitting urban chickens starting on July 28.

Chickens And Their Chicken Coop

Photo: kusine (Flickr)

Along with a number of other regulations, owners must provide 16 square feet of space per chicken inside the coop.

Milwaukee will begin a 0ne-year trial period for permitting urban chickens on July 28. It will join a host of other cities across the country in allowing the hens.

Keeping The Chickens In Line

But that doesn’t mean loose hens will be roaming the city’s sidewalks by August.

The city’s new chicken ordinance comes with tight restrictions for potential chicken owners, however. After applying and paying a $35 registration fee, homeowners would be required to follow these rules:

  • Owners are permitted to own up to only four hens (no roosters, due to the potential for noisiness).
  • Slaughtering chickens is prohibited.
  • All adjacent neighbors must grant permission, and the coop must be located at least 25 feet from any of their property lines.
  • The owner must provide 16 square feet of space per chicken inside the coop.

Most cities with urban chicken provisions have similar restrictions.

Bloomington, Indiana’s ordinance went into effect in 2006 to good results. As of earlier this year, eight homeowners in Bloomington have backyard chicken permits.

The Clucks Have It

Urban chicken fans view the practice as another step in bringing the farm closer to the table. Since there are no roosters permitted, the flocks stay pretty quiet and don’t smell funny.

“Ultimately it’s about food security,” said Dennis Harrison-Noonan, a creator of chicken coops, to the Bay View Compass. “You can grow broccoli in the backyard. Can you grow something with a little protein too?”

Chickens can be picked up at nearby farms or ordered as chicks off the internet from websites like My Pet Chicken.

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Carrie Schedler

Carrie Schedler is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, English and French. She's originally from Columbus, Ohio, and still dreams often about salty caramel ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and baguettes from her semester abroad in Paris. Hopefully, she'll learn how to cook eventually.

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