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Urbana Chicken Effort – 5 Year Update

March 25, 2009

extreme-chicken1Lately we’ve had several revelations about chicken keeping in Urbana, IL.  It started when Ronna dug up this 2004 article from the New York Times while doing research on Urbana city ordinances.  The article begins, “A movement is underfoot in Urbana.”  Well, this is an update on Urbana chickens 5 years later.

The article titled “From City-Reared Chickens, Farm-Fresh Eggs” (10/4/2004) quotes city attorney Steve Holz (*arrested development chuckle) “There is no restriction on livestock or poultry in the city [of Urbana].”  It goes on to say that “the city can take action against owners if they keep the animals in a way that hurts the health or safety of the neighborhood.”  So thats it. Keeping chickens in town is %100 legit, until they become a problem.

I joined the yahoo group Urbana Chicken Effort awhile back, which I presume was the original communication tool for the “movement” that the article mentions.  With 32 members signed up, the list is still used to coordinate feed and chick buying.

The other revelation occured when Heather ran into Danielle Chynoweth at the IMC.  According to Danielle, our oldest chicken, Ginger, was originally owned by Molly Stentz and is estimated to be 8 years old!  The 2004 NYTimes article quotes Stentz as saying, “There are so many people in my neighborhood who are doing it.  It’s low-maintenance and fun.”  This means that our elderly Ginger is one of the original Urbana Chicken Effort chickens, and she’s still ticking!

So, La Casa is curious to know more about the history of Urbana Chickens.  How many people are keeping chickens in town these days?  Do they take as many photos as us?  How can we help each other and encourage more chicken cooperation?  Please comment and let us know how your ladies are doing.

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