Episode 99: Underground Chickens

The backyard chicken trend is becoming more and more prevalent these days. But in many North American cities, keeping a flock of hens is still illegal. We met up with some unlikely outlaws while travelling through Tennessee who are breaking the law by producing fresh farm eggs, right in their back yard.

  • Austin Lindstrom

    Why specify what state they live in?

    • danielpklein

      why not?

  • http://twitter.com/LSRebhan Lindsay Rebhan

    Chickens illegal in most of Minneapolis/St. Paul suburbs still…Here’s a collection of some city chicken keeping laws, you can update yours if it’s not on there: http://thecitychicken.com/chickenlaws.html

    • danielpklein

      thanks Lindsay – that’s a great resource

  • http://twitter.com/Sekkyo Joel Peterson

    Thanks for sharing these chicken stories! Soon as I live in a house with a yard, I’m going to do this. Free pest control, free eggs!

  • http://twitter.com/kevinkossowan Kevin Kossowan

    I can have a parrot. But not a chicken. Ridiculous. 

    So many jurisdictions have worked through the same old tired objections: smell, noise, avian flu, etc – that it’s getting easier to overcome them with sources others have already used and succeeded with. If any of you have some of those resources, let me know – the debate is getting heated in the press right now throughout Alberta. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/JavaTikiKing David Smith

    The timing of this episode could not be more appropriate for the urban poultry folks in our area. There are a number of people in our city who have chickens/poultry (we have ducks) and up until now the only ordinance on the books here has specified that you simply have to let the local constable (Police Chief) know (or get his ok) that you have them. BUT…now there is apparently an ordinance that is in the works, to be presented sometime soon to the city council, that addresses the issue of urban poultry in some as-yet-unknown manner. At this point none of us know what the proposed ordinance entails, but are hopeful that it will be sensible and proper.

    Around here there are more dogs barking, seagulls crapping, geese up the wazoo, and who knows how many folks with pet iguanas, parrots, pit bulls, snakes, tarantulas and so on than you can shake a stick at…but the idea of having a few critters that actually help feed a person is “controversial.” Strange indeed.

  • guest

    How are these people hiding the noise?  My 4 hens just started laying last month, and I was unaware of the loud squawking that comes with egg laying.  I have already received a noise complaint from the city.

    • http://twitter.com/kaleandcola Mirra Fine

      Really?! Where you do you live? We had chickens last year and the noise wasnt bad. Or maybe our neighbors are just more laid back 😉

  • dorfan2

    Have lived next door to yard with chickens for 20+ years.  Not so bad if they stay in their own yard.  If they get out, they dig deep holes in our yard and dig up the landscaping.  The worst thing is the roosters, if they get them – crow under our bedroom window at the crack of dawn – very loud.

  • dorfan2

    Oops!  Forgot about the chicken poop COVERING the driveway – gross!

  • Kevin

    I hope you guys have something exciting planned for your 100th episode! Party time!

  • Trey

    As of January you can have up to 6 hens now. In most districts that is. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=46900011 Elliott Nguyen

    Not to be a pain in the ass, but you all used the wrong “cities” in the start of the film. Cities, not city’s. 

  • Artful

    Gorgeous heartwarming film. Can I share it with the Village Board of our suburb in support of legalizing hens?

    • danielpklein

      thanks.. and of course

  • Rachel Wilson

    I love this. Everyone in this video is my hero! Yay backyard chickens!

  • Foody2 and Oliver

    It’s so refreshing and almost an oxymoron to see how going back can in so many ways propell us forward…how in this case putting up fences is taking taking other fences down. Loved the woman with chickens and pearls!!

  • Virg

    Our country is so upside down.  You can engage in all sorts of destructive behavior, and no one cares.  But put a couple of chickens in your back yard…and you’re a criminal.  This my friends is why we choose to live way, way outside city limits, neighborhood covenants, etc.  I applaud the mothers who want their children exposed to life, death, and where food comes from.

  • Katie

    If chickens stop laying eggs after 2 years but live up to 8, what do these people do? Especially if they have kids who’ve become emotionally attached to the animals? Keep the chickens around and then get more? It seems you’d just end up with a lot of non-egg laying chickens after a while…

  • Tommy

    “Legalize It” was Peter Tosh, not Bob Marley… Anyway, good episode. Where is this, again?