‘Chicken Whisperer’ to Talk to Arlington Egg Supporters

by ARLnow.com October 18, 2011 at 10:26 am 3,709 41 Comments

A group that’s trying to convince Arlington County to allow residents to raise backyard hens is bringing in an “urban chicken expert” as a speaker this week.

Pat Foreman, co-host of the “Chicken Whisperer Backyard Poultry and Sustainable Lifestyles Talk Show,” will be addressing members of the Arlington Egg Project (motto: “Give Peeps a Chance“) on Thursday night. Foreman has written books like “City Chicks,” “Chicken Tractor” and “Day Range Poultry,” which promote the benefits of small-scale hen-keeping. She will teach interested Arlingtonians the ins and outs of “keeping micro-flocks of laying hens as garden helpers, compost makers, bio-recyclers and local food suppliers.”

Foreman, who lives near Lexington, Va., will provide chicken supporters additional ammunition in their quest to get Arlington to relax rules that prohibit the vast majority of residents from keeping egg-laying hens in their backyards. Among the poultry-powered benefits she promotes: “enhance backyard agriculture… divert food and yard ‘waste’ out of landfills… decrease oil consumption… lower carbon footprints… improve national defense and emergency preparedness.”

Foreman will also be selling autographed books.

The event, co-sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street). The public is asked to pre-register by calling 703-228-6414 or by emailing [email protected]

Following Foreman’s talk, the Arlington Egg Project plans to discuss the “next steps” in its advocacy effort. The group has told members that it’s nearing 1,000 signatures on a petition it plans to present to the Arlington County Board.

  • JimPB

    Back to the future of home gardening and animal raising for fresh, organic food — and more.

    Add rabbits to the mix: they’re easy to raise, and they provide good meat and nice fur.

    Then there’s goats: Meat and milk, and at various places around the country, they’re getting their nourishment while chomping down vegetation growth for hire — they’re less expensive than using power mowers. Quieter, too.

    The Arlington County Fair could again be what it once was.

    • Harkin

      Yeah, pack all that into a densely urban area and it’ll be just like we’re in Jamaica!

      • Burger

        You are 100% right. Add in the avian flu, disease, filth and the increase in predators like foxes and coyotes, allowing people to keep chickens in their backyard sounds like a win-win for everyone.

        • Lou

          Good business for poachers too.

        • PghBigDog

          @ Burger…
          We have foxes, coyotes, avian flu, disease, and filth! Presumably there would be some regulations on how many animals could be kept, limits on noise, smell if any, etc.

          @ Lou…
          We already have poachers too – just ask your local gardener!

      • KalashniKEV

        Ya, mon… but we don’t be havin’ enough ganja here to mask the stench.

    • Josh S

      Given that the County Fair didn’t start until 1976, I’m guessing that livestock have never been a big part of the fair. But perhaps I’m wrong?

    • drax

      Sounds good to me.

  • If you think people get angry when you don’t clean up after your dog, just wait.

    • Jim

      Yeah, just wait – then people are going to want to start treating their chickens just like they’re little people, and they’ll want to carry them into stores, and they’ll want restaurants to start having “clucky-happy-hours” on their patios with little bowls of chicken feed, and they’ll let little henny-penny sit on their laps while they drive, and they’ll open stores that sell gourmet organic chicken food and sweaters so the little cluckeroo doesn’t get cold while she’s out laying eggs.

      • Wow! You must have had some childhood…

        • Jim

          I was trying to be funny, but you apparently read everything literally…

          And actually yes, I had a great childhood – we always had dogs and loved them like family. But would never think of imposing them on other people in public spaces, dressing them up in ridiculous outfits, or carrything them around like fashion accessories…

      • PghBigDog

        Don’t forget the miniature brown flip-flops for the roosters!

  • Awesome!

    This is great! I think this makes so much sense and I hope to keep chickens some day. They don’t make any more noise than helicopters, dogs, lawn mowers, police sirens, and mopeds in my hood.

    • Burger

      And are those noises at 5:30 AM or bring in disease or predators?

      • KalashniKEV

        I think you missed the sarcasm… this makes absolutely no sense.

        • drax

          Um, no, it wasn’t sarcasm. Enjoy your sirens and lawn mower noise.

          • PghBigDog

            +1 drax!

          • KalashniKEV

            If I were affected by such things I suppose I could always move to a rural area… perhaps even a chicken appropriate locale!

  • David Morrison

    For Pete’s sake…

  • drax

    Next we’ll be having dogs and cats and birds and squirrels and chipmunks and foxes and deer and ‘possums and raccoons living in Arlington! That’s crazy talk.

    • Burger

      You missed coyotes.

      • drax

        I should have left out foxes too – bad for chickens.

      • National Defense Chicken

        Bring on them coyotes and foxes. Maybe some of them left-wing extremists from Blue Virginia too.

        First rule of Fight Club is nobody talks about Fight Club.

        • KalashniKEV

          Those are clearly South Arlington/ Columbia Pike fowl… we only want to discuss the fluffy North Arlington type and fresh omelets!

  • DarkHeart

    I understand they are very good for predicting hurricanes, snowmageddons and earthquakes.

  • Edith Massey

    I love the egg man

  • Office Lady

    I vote no. I have a couple backyard chickens on my unrestricted farmland way out in the country. As much as I would like to keep chickens at my Arlington residence – I think not. Too much population density in Arlington. Would need to have serious restrictions.

    • drax

      Chickens are already allowed, just a long way from any property line, which means few lots can legally have them.

      • Burger


        so the burden to change the zoning is on the people that want to bring chickens. So far they have only pulled that the amorphous heart strings of localized food but haven’t established any reasons in how to combat the increase in chicken s””t, increase in disease, increase in likely predators, increased noise issues or any other the 1000 reasons that clearly demonstrate why Arlington is not a rural county.

        If they want to have chickens on their property move to Loudon , PW or even fairfax county.

        • National Defense Chicken

          Okay, so here’s a win-win-win-win-win-win for Arlington:

          1. Wal-mart builds 49,999 sq ft w/199 parking spaces in Shirlington and the county gets a huge boost from tax revenue
          2. Wal-mart builds a big chicken ranch (taking up interior space that would have otherwise gone to parking [or *UGH* CABI] within the current requirements
          3. Wal-mart sells free-range, local, organic eggs in its store – pretentious folks have to STFU
          4. Wal-mart kills chickens to sell free-range, local, organic chicken parts in its store and pretentious folks have to STFU again
          5. Wal-mart builds a huge artistic statue with all the chicken sh!t and sells it to Artisphere for $5M, which pretty much seals the fate for that “venture”
          6. The roosters crowing at dawn pretty much means all complaints about the cannon salutation practice at Ft Myer is forever null and void.

          Did I leave anything out?

  • Blech

    I refuse to eat chicken, because chickens are foul.

  • Dept. of Farmland Security

    I’m curious about the claim of backyard chickens “improv[ing] national defense and emergency preparedness.”

    So does this mean I can apply for a DHS grant to improve my backyard henhouse on the basis that I’m helping national defense and emergency preparedness? An automated sentry system with a M249 might take care of any coyote or fox problems…

  • Barbin

    No to chickens in Arlington.

    • Barbarian

      Yes to HENS in Arlington.

  • North A-Town Snob

    I’ve had a couple of pigs in Arlington during my younger years. Of course they were of the female human variety and I brought them home while intoxicated from the Clarendon drinking establishments. But much like the chickens, the stench can be revolting.

    • Lou

      Were you the Pig Whisperer?

  • Rats and Mice

    Our neighbor has an illegal hen house not more than 20 feet from our property line. I haven’t reported it yet b/c I generally try to resolve things before going to the county. We’ve noticed an increase in rats and mice in our back yard. I’ve had to go to the local home depot and buy poison, traps, etc. My neighbor, who’s also shares the property line with the hen house, just dug out a rat nest in their yard and we have a number of holes under our shed which indicate a rat’s nest. And no, we don’t have bird feeders, woodpiles and other things that would normally attract rats. When it gets cold outside, guess where the rats and mice will go! NO to hen houses in Arlington.

    • KalashniKEV

      You should raise Cobras on the property line starting next spring.

  • soarlslacker

    If my neighbors start raising chickens, my 3 big strong Maine Coon Cats will be allowed outside. Think of all the money I’ll save on cat food. No one could abide the stench of chickens!


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