‘Til the Chickens Come Home

light of Buffalo residents Blair Woods and Monique Watts having their
hens declared illegal in the City of Buffalo, Corporation Council, Alisa
Lukasiewicz has given herself a crash course in urban chicken farming, and not
just as it relates to Buffalo. 
“[Keeping hens] is a huge movement across the nation and in many
cities,” Lukasiewicz said. 
“There’s value in it.” 
She directs us to the sight Green Options

only been 5 years that chickens in residential neighborhoods have been outlawed
in Buffalo, and Lukasiewicz guesses that it was probably a matter of chicken
fights that, in 2004, caused Councilmember Richard Fontana to sponsor the resolution
that resulted in law 341-11, making harboring fowl within the city limits a

yes,” Lukasiewicz said, “You can have a cow.”  Though she said the law pertaining to
chickens could be turned around, Lukasiewicz was hesitant to say how long it
might take.  “It all depends
on how fast the council considers this,” she said.  “Generally there have been issues
of illness, noise, and proximity to other houses, but this [urban chicken]
movement is taking hold.” 

read some of the text from the online site aloud: “It’s no longer something
kinky or interesting,” Jac Smit, president of the Urban Agriculture Network,
tells Worldwatch writer Ben Block. “The ‘chicken underground’ has really spread
so widely and has so much support.”

Watts has moved the chickens for now, as stated in the comment section of yesterday’s story.

Fontana was not in his office today, but Council President David Franczyk made
note of last week’s council meeting in which the issue of having fowl at the
slaughterhouse on William Street was looked at.  “The zoning board says the slaughterhouse is allowed to
have fowl, but that was a slaughterhouse when I was a kid, so it’s already
zoned for that.”

distinction for now on the zoning books is one of residential vs. commercial,
and fowl for meat versus pets with benefits, such as Woods’ and Watts’
hens.  Councilmember David Rivera
is working closely with the couple now. 
All else aside, Rivera must certainly recognize Watts and Woods as
having raised the bar on quality of life in their community through their efforts,
both residential and with the advent of Urban Roots Garden Center.  It shouldn’t be hard to bring the rest
of council up to speed.

for chickens in the city, “We’ll look into it,” Franczyk said.  He is also aware of the growing trend.

didn’t get ahold of UB’s Dr. Samina Raja today, but we’re pretty sure what the
proponent of attainable and sustainable urban nutrition would have to say about
a couple’s chickens being forced out of their backyard coop.  We expect Raja, of the School of
Architecture and Planning, who has gotten her students involved in community
on the planning level,
would institute a course that would facilitate ownership of urban
chickens–maybe even design and build a few coops along the way.

we need to get that law changed. 


City Chicken

About the author  ⁄ Elena Cala Buscarino

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