Does Arlington need more backyard chickens?
The Arlington of the popular imagination doesn’t exactly scream “rural oasis.” But the corporate hills of Rosslyn and Mac-filled enclave of Clarendon could be seeing a few more backyard chicken coops if the Arlington Egg Project has its way. The group and its allies will be advocating for conditions that make it easier to raise hens on private property at a meeting with the Arlington Committee of 100 tonight.
The issue of personal chicken-raising has lived on news sites and forums for the last year. County law currently allows residents to raise chickens on their property, provided that the birds don’t roam free and that their enclosure is 100 feet from the property boarder. The county recommends a half-acre of land to remain within the law. Chicken-raising advocates say that makes chicken ownership in Arlington all but impossible.
Tom Carter, who works in government affairs by day and fights for the Arlington Egg Project by night, has been unable to raise hens—that’s hens, mind you, not roosters—because of the size of his property. Carter stresses that the group does not encourage rooster ownership due to their noisy wake-up calls. Besides, you don’t need a rooster to get eggs. (Hens lay unfertilized eggs, which we eat, on their own.)
Kirsten Buhls, the agriculture and natural resources agent for the Virginia Cooperative Extension, says she occasionally hears from residents with complaints or concerns about neighborhood chickens.
“I think some of the concerns are very valid,” she says, but overall, they come from either misinformation or a bad chicken owner. The noise complaint, she says, is unfounded if you’re dealing with hens.
“The volume of sound that hens make is about the decimal of human conversation,” says Buhls. “About 60 decimals.” Hens do make noise, for instance, after successfully laying an egg. “They’re quite proud of themselves in the morning when they lay an egg,” she says. “For the most part, they are very quiet.”
RecommendedRecent Facebook Activity
Best of TBD In case you missed it
These are TBD's best photos of the year.
TBD Blogs What you need to read
@TBD On Foot
Only On 7
For all the breaking stories happening in your neighborhood and developing stories happening around the world, join Leon Harris and Alison Starling weeknights on ABC7 News at 5 and 11.