Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the news!

Good morning!

There's a lovely article on Somerville Patch highlighting Thursday's urban ag meeting with the City of Somerville, that says a lot about me and chickens!  Thank you, Chris!  :D

ETA: The author of the article, Chris Orchard, did an excellent job quoting me, though there are two points I'd like to clarify... 1) My comment that "the city just doesn't want to hear about it" specifically refers to what I see as the reality of the non-nuisance part of chicken-keeping whether it's legal or not - your city officials don't want to evict your chickens, even if there's nothing officially prohibiting you from keeping them.  So work with your neighbors as much as possible to prevent the city from having to intervene.   2) As of right now, roosters are discouraged in Somerville but not prohibited.  I'm not going to keep any more because I feel it's pushing a boundary that doesn't need to be pushed, but I do want to point out that in my situation about 90% of my neighbors LOVED having the sound of the roo and were sad to see him go!

Thank you.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.  ;)

The meeting on Thursday night was SO exciting!  The city is really on board with this idea, and it was amazing to see the support for backyard chickens among the crowd, and also bees, a wide variety of gardens, and some ancillary groups like the Urban League of Canners, who offer harvesting and canning of any extra produce!

The other super-exciting part of what the city is proposing is this idea that they explicitly want to encourage new urban-ag-related small business endeavors as part of this!  Yay for people like me!  And also for everyone who will be producing more than they can use and want to legally be able to sell the extra to recoup some costs.  I think it's very clever, too, that they are setting some very specific guidelines to go along with that, such as requiring that you have your soil tested for lead and show your test results if you are selling produce.  Great idea - Go Somerville!  :D

In other news, I had an amazing meeting yesterday with my new friend Jessie Banhazi who founded Green City Growers a couple of years ago.  I am SO excited about a potential partnership with them, as well as so thankful for the LOADS of really helpful info and tips Jessie had for me about setting up my business.  Definitely check them out for advice on and installation of your own backyard raised-bed garden - they are awesome.

And now I'm off to a fantastic chickenswap out in Townsend, MA, hopefully to pick up some new girls to quarantine before they head off to new homes AND to meet up with my coop-man for delivery of my new "model coop" (so I'll be able to give folks an idea of what I can have built for them).

Thanks so much for keeping up with things around here, and I'm sure I'll have exciting updates for you soon!

And I will leave you with... CHICKIES!  :D

(These little ones are my current Easter Egger hens Red, Stinker, and Bellina as chicks, along with their sister Saphira (RIP, my dear little dragon))

Wheeee!  :D


  1. Is it in fact legal to have them or if that is pending on passage of the suggested legislation? I want chickens!

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  3. (Oops... Take 2!)

    Hiya Matthew!

    Despite having nothing officially on the books about poultry, Somerville has chosen to be very pro-chicken, so yes it is absolutely legal to have them. The new ordinance is intended to clarify the rules and set some proactive guidelines for backyard ag practitioners in order to keep communication clear for everyone.

    For example, the recommendations I was told when I began were that 1. chickens are allowed, 2. roosters are discouraged, 3. respect your neighbors (don't be a nuisance), and 4. selling anything is discouraged (no commercial operations). The new ordinance will explicitly state that 1. up to *six hens* are allowed, 2. roosters are *not allowed*, 3. still respect your neighbors and don't be a nuisance, and 4. you are *encouraged* to sell your excess produce/eggs/honey and even to make a small business out of it.