Grit Blogs > Gardening with Vickie

A Victory for Backyard Chickens

A photo of Vickie MorganSince I last posted (sorry it took me so long) the chicken law needed to go to the planning commission to get it’s okay, then it would become law. Well things did not go so well with the planning commission –members thought it would ruin the image of Burton if they allowed chickens and one man said chickens just had so many diseases it would endanger the public if they allowed them. So with only me in the audience in favor of backyard chickens, the law was quickly turned down.

All hope was not lost, although believe me I felt that way, the city council could override the planning commission’s recommendation. So I was excited when I heard the council was having a meeting about the chicken ordinance on July 6.

A chicken in the backyard

As I sat in the council meeting trying to decide what to say Bat reached over and whispered in my ear that he would speak about the chickens if I wanted him to. You know I said yes – whew no worries about turning red! So when it came time for audience participation he got up to speak, and then a neighbor down the street spoke in favor of chickens. One lady spoke up and said she would like to have chickens for her grandchildren and another lady living here from Australia spoke up and said it would be a great experience for her children, and she would love to give a go. She spoke about a Chicken 101 class in Genesee County somewhere – wish I had gotten a chance to speak with her afterwards you know that would be a great class to take.

Then the council spoke – all except one were in favor of backyard chickens in the City of Burton. I’m sure he is a nice guy anyway. You can read more about it in this Flint Journal article.

Can you believe it? Chickens are legal in the city of Burton! Many thanks to city council member Paula Zelenko for her tremendous help in getting this law passed. Many thanks to the rest of the council for having open minds and thinking outside the box as Bat would say.

Chickens enjoying the backyard.

The law states you have to have a ½ acre of land, but you are able to go before the planning commission if you have less and ask to keep chickens. You can keep 6 chickens but no roosters. I just can’t imagine going out in my backyard and gathering fresh eggs. Just the thoughts of that connects you more to the land you live on. I’m not sure how many people will have chickens but the idea of backyard chickens is becoming more popular and I think it’s great the city I live in has given the okay for people to have the option.

Ahhh, finally Chickens!

lisa beijer
4/21/2013 1:52:43 PM

Thanks very much for working so hard to get us chickens. I was absolutely delighted to see we could have some egg laying chickens. I'm new to chickens, and relatively new to Burton as well. You see I could buy farm fresh eggs at work up until a year ago...when Mary retired. I'd love to have a couple of hens here and am reading Chicken 101....lol. Thanks neighbor for your hard work! You are appreciated!


vickie
4/16/2011 9:18:36 PM

Lisa, This winter I learned to get a little tougher -normally I would sit by the fire and keep warm but this year I dressed in layers and dashed out to the chicken coop! Wouldn't you know it- I decide to get chickens and we have record for the most inches of snow and record breaking cold! But Chickens are not hard at all to keep and definetly worth getting a little cold for! Have a great day. Vickie


lisa_5
3/11/2011 10:06:31 AM

Hi Vickie, Just wondering how everything went your first winter? Hope it was smooth sailing! Looking forward to hearing from you.


vickie
9/2/2010 2:23:27 PM

Oz Girl, Oh so neat we will both have chicken stories-except you'll have ducks. Which sound really cute. I'm glad your daughter has someone good to give them too. vickie


oz girl
9/1/2010 9:09:13 PM

Wow Vickie what a huge victory!! :) Like the others, can't wait to see your first chicken post. We'll be inheriting our first group of chickens from my husband's daughter when they move from WY to TX in October. Not sure how many we'll be getting yet, but we're also getting her 4 ducks!!


vickie
9/1/2010 1:19:33 PM

Thanks Mountainwoman, I'm so glad it all turned out for the good of backyard chickens. You know so many people in my neighborhood are wanting them now and it certainly has the neighborhood talking. vickie


vickie
9/1/2010 1:10:31 PM

Lisa, I'm so glad you got to move to the country-4 acres sounds wonderful. You raise such a good question- what to do with them after they quit laying. I'll just have to get to that point first I guess but that thought is in the back of my mind a lot. There are no little boys for us just girls so at least that problem is solved. thanks for coming by vickie


mountain woman
9/1/2010 12:42:07 PM

A big congratulations and I can't wait to see the pictures of your eggs when they arrive. People should take inspiration from your story and fight for their belifs.


lisa_5
9/1/2010 8:06:40 AM

Hi Vickie, My homestate is MI, even though I've been living in Quebec Canada with my french Canadian husband for 25 years! My heart is still back home. We finally moved out to the country 4 years ago. I enjoy your blog so much. Enjoy your chickies and keep sharing with us, I hope to get the courage to raise them, but surely my delemma right now is what do we do with them once they stop laying?? and what do we do with all the little boys?? Fresh chicken in the freezer is great, but I don't think I will have the heart to, well, you know:0(. What will you do about that?? Keep on writing and we will be praying all goes well!


vickie
8/30/2010 2:20:32 PM

Pam, They will be a lot of fun and sounds like beneficial too-lower health care costs and nicer people you just can't beat that! thanks vickie


vickie
8/30/2010 2:17:05 PM

Robyn, Didn't it come at a good time? It makes people realize that it's good to know where your food comes from. Now about that rotating into the stew pot -can I think about that one awhile? A long while? vickie


pam_6
8/30/2010 11:56:49 AM

Congratulations! I know you will enjoy having chickens. Plus I think just sitting and watching chickens scratch and cluck lowers blood pressure and just makes folks nicer! (my opinion and personal observation) Have a great day. gafarmwoman Pam


robyn dolan
8/30/2010 10:20:19 AM

Good news for backyard chickens! Especially with the recent recall of the big farmed eggs, I think alot of people got off the fence about raising their own. It's alot easier to keep a small flock healthy, and rotated into the stew pot or frying pan when the time comes;)


vickie
8/28/2010 1:33:26 PM

Thanks so much for the website -it has a lot of useful info on it. vickie


fishorcutbait
8/28/2010 12:41:36 PM

Congratulations on this nice victory for backyard poultry. With more and more communities allowing for backyard chicken raising and more and more families seeking alternatives for sustainable living, I think victories such as this will also grow across America. Whether backyard or farm yard, poultry health is easy enough to assure. There is a good website created by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA which sums up how to keep poultry healthy: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecurity/ And check out the contest there to name the chicken mascot...every one can enter!


vickie
8/28/2010 5:03:13 AM

Cindy, Thanks - I love your comment! you have a great weekend too vickie


cindy murphy
8/27/2010 8:51:03 PM

Go, Vickie. Go, Vickie. Go, Vickie! Yay for you! You had an idea, that turned into a plan; you took your stand, and made it happen! Can't wait to hear more. Have a great weekend. Cindy


vickie
8/27/2010 5:27:55 PM

Thanks Dave, I believe that it was like that here too, (neighbors having chickens, and livestock) before Burton became a city. At that time then it probably became unpopular. Now I think we are moving a step forward and I hope many other cities will pass laws also. I'll probably have many posts on chickens to come! vickie


vickie
8/27/2010 5:22:21 PM

Thanks Shannon it was so fun to go to that last meeting and realize it passed I'm so glad more people showed up in favor.


nebraska dave
8/27/2010 3:20:57 PM

@Vickie, I’m so glad to see that your town has finally broke through the stigma of chickens are bad. Now the battle becomes neighbor education about Urban chickens. Do you already have chics on your Urban Ranch? To me it seems almost funny that special ordinances would have to be passed to have chickens. In my youth it was not uncommon for neighbors in town to have chickens, rabbits, and even a goat or two within the city limits. When we lost our farming roots, cities gained the power to eliminate farm animals in the city. It’s great to see that at least some cities are coming to their senses and realize that care of animals can be a good thing for kids. Good luck with your girls. I will expect reports from time to time about the chicken in Burton experience. Have a great day and congrats on your victory.


s.m.r. saia
8/27/2010 3:06:49 PM

YOU GO VICKIE!!!!!! I can't wait to see the pictures of your chickens!!!!! Congratulations!