Mark Metcalf

A hen named Milwaukee

By - May 5th, 2011 04:00 am

Photos by Brian Jacobson

I know what you’re thinking — backyard henkeeping sounds noisy, not to mention unsanitary. Jessica Lane of Cream City Hens is here to tell you that it’s all a myth.

Cream City Hens is a consortium of community members and Milwaukee residents who advocate for urban henkeeping. The group is currently working to pass a chicken ordinance in Milwaukee, which would allow city residents to keep “up to four hens in a clean, well-kept enclosed coop on a single family lot, no closer than 25 feet from neighbors.”

Jessica Lane

The proposed law would cover only egg-laying hens — not roosters, which are the noisy ones.  According to Lane, the goal of CCH is to help change misconceptions about poultry keeping in urban environments, all the while contributing to a sustainable food system. Egg-laying hens not only provide an affordable source of fresh, organic protein, but they also help fertilize the soil, control the pest population, and make great pets.

Dozens of cities around the nation have passed similar laws, including New York City and Chicago. In the Greater Milwaukee Area, River Hills, Mequon and St. Francis all have chicken laws on the books, most of them inspired by Madison’s “poultry underground,” which instituted its own laws in 2005.

Today, Lane explains the impending ordinance in better detail, weighs in on the benefits of urban henkeeping, and debunks the myths about chickens. And as an added bonus, she brought one of her silkie chickens, Milwaukee, along as a special guest!

Listen now:

(Windows Media Player)


For more information on Cream City Hens, click here. Watch a LIVE chick cam here:

To subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, click here.

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