Nineteen people gathered in our living room this morning to learn about raising chickens. We ate rhubarb muffins and discussed how to keep chickens from eating their own eggs and how to train them to roost. We talked about alternative ways to feed them besides those not-very-appetizing-looking grey pellets.
Chickens are technically legal in Anchorage, but their housing must be at least 100 ft from any property line. That’s a problem when most lots are only 50 feet wide. The codes have been re-written, but they are being held up because they are a part of Title 21, which is being strongly opposed by the building industry due to stricter regulations on what can or can’t be built and how it looks. The building industry has even come together to run a smear campaign against the more liberal assembly members who support Title 21 (and backyard chickens and other small livestock.)
These more liberal assembly members, led by Elvi Gray-Jackson, who happens to be my representative, are working to pass the code changes to allow backyard livestock, regardless of Title 21. Unfortunately, since the election is this Tuesday, they need to wait to see if they are re-elected in order to act. This is a GREAT reason to get out and vote on Tuesday!! We need these people back in, as they are the only sanity left in our local politics.
Politics aside, I am thrilled that so many people are excited about keeping chickens in their backyard. I believe that small livestock is key to having a sustainable urban homestead, as they provide much-needed fertilizer for our gardens and protein for us. They add life and vibrancy to the yard and neighborhood. And they help kids learn about where food comes from and the circle of life.