“It’s time to reawaken the flock and bring the chickens back to the city” is a line from “Mad City Chickens,” a film by Tarazod Films (www.tarazod.com), and today that line applies to the City of Milwaukee. According to an 8 to 5 vote this morning by the Milwaukee Common Council, domestic fowl can now be raised on residential lots within the City of Milwaukee. Each single residential lot will be allowed up to four chickens with the approved permit.
Alderperson Nik Kovac sponsored a bill, the other half of the bee ordinance passed last spring, to allow chickens (not roosters) to be raised in the city. Kovac has worked tirelessly to garner support of this ordinance. After a near bill-killing vote in the Public Safety Committee lead by Aldersperson Donovan, the ordinance was brought to the entire Common Council. After some debate and criticism, mostly by Alderperson’s Witkowski and Donovan, the bill passed with an added sunset amendment. Alderpersons Hamilton, Kovak, Bauman, Bohl, Coggs, Murphy, Witkowiak and Zielinski all voted in favor of the ordinance. The chicken ordinance, as it is aptly named, will be revisited in six months by the Common Council and, without that body’s approval, will die in one year. This ordinance includes the entire city of Milwaukee and not just a pilot neighborhood as was originally suggested at the Public Safety Committee meeting.
The City’s Department of Neighborhood Services and Health Department were both involved in the writing of the ordinance and support it wholeheartedly. The law will allow people to apply for permits in 45 days, giving the Department of Neighborhood Services time to print support materials. Permits will be granted with neighbor approval. The ordinance reads, “Prior to the issuance of a permit, the applicant shall obtain the written consent of the owner of the property where the chickens shall be kept and owners of all directly or diagonally abutting properties, including those across an alley.” In the meantime, look for seminars instructing residents on how to care for their chickens. More information will also be forthcoming on this blog.
For those who would like to get a head start on building their chicken coops, consider a subscription to Backyard Poultry magazine at http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/. Its great spring reading.
If you are ready to start researching varieties of chickens and feed sources, check out http://www.creamcityhens.com/. Jessica Lane, founder of Cream City Hens, has been advocating for chickens in Milwaukee since March of 2010 and is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. Chickens have long been symbols of good luck and health and that is something the residents of Milwaukee could use right now.