Campaigning for Backyard Chickens in Alexandria
Did you know it’s legal to raise chickens in Del Ray? Legal, that is, if you have a lot large enough for your coop to stand 200 feet from your neighbor’s yard, which pretty much makes everyone who currently has chickens (and yes, there are a few!) in violation of the law. But a movement is gaining steam to modify that ordinance to align with our typical small lot sizes.
A group that calls themselves “Hens of Alexandria” has created an online petition as a first step in changing the ordinance. As soon as they get 500 signatures, they’ll deliver the petition to the Alexandria City Council. They’re proposing that they city allow 1 chicken hen per 1,000 square feet of lot size and at least 4 feet from a property line, unless space is shared with a neighboring property of mutual consent. Roosters are not permitted. You can find more information on this campaign on their flyer, such as benefits, concerns, and more facts about backyard chickens.
These are the group’s main arguments: Backyard chickens are pets that provide more than just companionship and entertainment. They provide:
- A sustainable and healthy food source
- Natural pest control
- Ability to turn food scraps into fertilizer
- An opportunity for egg sharing to foster community
- An opportunity for community members (like kids) to connect with natural cycles, including our food system, animal husbandry and hatching eggs
We met a family a few years ago who raises chickens in their Del Ray backyard. They consider the chickens family pets – they are docile, clean, and lay 5-6 eggs every day. The chickens are free to roam in the yard and sleep in a safe and sturdy coop at night.