Chicken Farms in DC: Legal or Illegal?

by March 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm 2,852 0

Are chicken farms part of Washington's future? (Image:

Are chicken farms part of Washington’s future? (Image:

Maybe so… maybe not. Don’t rush out just yet to buy a chicken coop for your back patio. The question of whether we can raise domesticated chickens in DC as a hedge against total economic meltdown is not settled yet.

I ran across this headline today at in shaw (an historically gentrified blog): “Chickens in the City.”

Well. What did this mean? What chickens? Chickens in Washington? Has chicken farming become a problem that is bedeviling some Advisory Neighborhood Commission? Is this an issue pitting newly arrived country people against urban sophisticates?

I had to know, so I clicked on the link and learned from Mari at in shaw:

I woke up this morning (cue blues riff), and heard a report on WAMU saying that “Officials in the mayor’s office say there is currently no law prohibiting raising chickens within city limits if residents follow guidelines on proper animal care and shelter.”

Well, indeed!

However, Mari just posted an update–“Chickens in the City II”–and I am now feeling somewhat deflated:

A follow up to Chickens in the City.
I found some language that looks like backyard chickens would be illegal in the District.

Read entire post.

Where will this end? I don’t know about you, but I plan to follow the debate on keeping domesticated fowl within city limits.

I have been saying since September that in the case of total economic collapse that I was planning to put gates up at each end of the alley that runs adjacent to our back walkway and raise hogs. We’d form a cooperative. Neighbors would throw their trash and kitchen scraps into the alley and I would tend the hogs.

Each fall, after the first frost, we would have us a hog butchering and cure the meat. Borderstan will become the hog capital of the District.

Why hogs and not chickens? Well, I grew up on a farm and my mom raised chickens. She said to me once, “If I never see another live chicken, I will be fine with that. They are dirty, stupid and they smell.”

Go ahead and laugh. This economic meltdown stuff is far from over.


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