URGENT: Ask the Seattle City Council not to increase the limit on Urban Chickens

(Note: the vote on this measure takes place at 2:00 pm Tuesday, August 3rd)

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is proposing code changes to support and encourage urban agriculture.

Please help local chickens by asking the Seattle City Council not to raise the limit on the number of chickens that may be kept in Seattle, and not to ban roosters. Animals—especially those viewed as a disposable food source—suffer terribly and needlessly at the hands of an ever-increasing number of inexperienced “urban farmers.”

Seattle Animal Shelter already takes in 20-30 unwanted roosters and some hens per year, and local area veterinarians are dealing with an increase in surrendered, sick urban hens from people who don’t want to pay vet bills for “food animals.” Approximately 80% of coop owners are already above the current limit. Raising it further may cause more over-population problems.

Let’s help the Seattle City Council keep compassion for animals in mind as they help improve the options for urban farmers in Seattle. (More information below.)

Please be sure to mention that you do not support raising the fowl limit from 3 to 8.

Contact:
Richard Conlin
richard.conlin@seattle.gov
Seattle City Council

You can learn more about the full measure at this link:
http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/UrbanAgriculture/Overview/

Issues:

  • Pens are often not predator proof: Dogs and raccoons will attack chickens, and raccoons can eat parts of them alive through wire fencing, without even entering the pen.
  • Feed attracts rodents: Poisoned rodents can in turn poison wildlife that eats them (such as birds).
  • Yard safety: Many yards are not fenced, allowing predators in and allowing chickens to roam the neighborhood
  • Health problems: Chickens can develop a number of health problems: feather mites, egg-laying issues (which may cause prolapse or infection), eye and head injuries (from pecking), foot infections (such as septic arthritis or bumblefoot, from poor surfaces or improper perches), pneumonia (from unclean or poorly ventilated coops).
  • Lack of veterinary care: People often buy chickens for eggs or meat to save money. When the birds get sick, their keepers are less willing to pay for expensive vet care.
  • Poor Feed: There is currently bad chicken feed circulating in Seattle, which has caused an increase in egg-laying issues in hens. Local farm coop feed is likely to blame–it is not nutritionally balanced for chickens, and it is not properly formulated into a pellet to provide even nutrition in every bite. (Bad feed is also being sold at Bothell Feed Center.)
  • Unwanted Roosters: Roosters are noisy, but they make up 50% of all eggs that are hatched. Hatcheries toss live male baby chicks into grinders to get rid of this “problem”, as most people only want hens. Banning roosters will only increase their suffering.

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