Chickens in Shorewood? It could happen. And that’s a good thing.

There has been a substantial move back towards people growing their own food in recent years, a movement that has certainly spiked with the onset of the Awesome Depression. (h/t Wired.) Part of this is a move to have the ability to keep chickens, or more specifically, hens, in your yard for their eggs.  Since folks that live north of Bay View can’t get eggs or even whole chicken carcasses delivered from the Jones farm, they need a reliable way to get eggs. So why not have a hen on your property?

Many people have been asking that in recent years, which has led to a movement to overturn laws banning the keeping of chickens. Urban chicken keeping is possible, and can be done well. But before you can do it, it helps to check to see if it’s legal where you live.

Here in the Milwaukee area, it’s not. Apparently someone just called South Milwaukee’s public health administrator about having chickens. This is in  the same story about the South Milwaukee family that has a goat, the very same goat that the city (but not the family’s neighbors) wants to get rid of. (Note to South Milwaukee: approve a variance for this goat. That doesn’t mean everybody can, or will, get one.)

Meanwhile, up in Shorewood, work is progressing on having the law banning the keeping of hens repealed. The “chicken ordinance” will be a topic of discussion with the village board tomorrow, Monday 2 March, at 7pm at the Shorewood Village Hall. If you’re interested in being able to keep these quiet, friendly animals that produce food and wonderful compost, I encourage you to show up. As one of the supporters of the move wrote, “All the leg work is done, the proposal suggested, the
research complete, we just need to show that this is more than a
novelty and that many people are in fact in support of this

Skeptics in the crowd will surely be thinking, “Oh, so what, anybody that wants to can just have chickens then? Don’t they crow and caw and make tons of noise? Aren’t they a health threat?”

In short, no. That said, it’s not for everyone, and if you’re not going to be around to take care of the animals, don’t do it. But there are more people than you would think who are interested in growing their own food, whether it be cucumbers or chickens.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

3 thoughts on “Chickens in Shorewood? It could happen. And that’s a good thing.”

  1. Many of the small cities out here in Jefferson County have adjusted their ordinances to allow four chickens in a coop in the middle of the yard (not at the corner or edges).

    People already entertain ducks, geese and wild birds in their yards.

  2. As someone contemplating the delivery of family farm eggs to Bay View people, I would really LOVE to have a couple of my own chickens. They are surprisingly clean and quiet animals, pretty much take care of themselves in most cases. And the eggs are to die for.

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