Chickens in Iowa City

I was trying to do a little bit of research today on urban chicken-keeping in Iowa City, since I know that it used to be allowed and Kevin and I would really be interested in participating in it if it were possible. Apparently, his grandparents used to do it at their house over on Roosevelt Street, which is a cute little neighborhood pretty close to our house. After digging around a little on the city council website, I found the transcript to a special work meeting of the council from earlier this month when it was brought up (search the document for the word “chicken”). While a few of them sounded pretty dismissive of the idea, it seems like it could actually fly if addressed properly and if cases of it being successful in other cities were shown. Iowa City prides itself on being progressive, and two other very progressive towns in the US (in fact, ones that Iowa City loves to compare itself to) are currently allowing urban chicken-keeping: Madison, WI and Portland, OR. It sounded from the transcripts like they’d be willing to entertain the idea if shown the model these other cities used.


This is very exciting! Ever since reading my friend Alice’s LJ posts about visiting her friend Alia and having fresh eggs around, I’ve been dreaming of having a few in my backyard. Fresh eggs! Obviously, we wouldn’t be butchering them ever, and we’d only keep enough to have eggs to eat and share, may three or four. But oh, fresh eggs!


I’ve emailed the city councilman who brought the idea up at the meeting, to see what the process needs to be to approach the board, and also to see if he could put me in contact with the other citizens who brought it up to him, to see if we could form some sort of coalition or something. Self-sustainability is on the horizon, and this would be a big, huge step in that direction.

So, Madison and Portland friends, please let me know if you have any good resources about how your cities implemented their ordinances regarding urban chicken-keeping. I’ll be googling, but if you have any tips on where to look, I’m all ears.

Pictures taken by Alice in Portland, OR.

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