Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com January 12, 2012 at 6:00 am 9,316 65 Comments

Backyard Chicken Debate Rages On — Egg-laying hens aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, according to an Arlington resident whose neighbor had an illegal chicken coop. “I can tell you that I thought we had excessive flies, we had rodents; the chickens do make noise and there is a smell,” Darryl Hobbs told WUSA9 at a community discussion about backyard chicken raising last night. Chicken supporters dispute claims that their coops are unsanitary, and say that egg-laying hens produce a steady stream of healthy, tasty and sustainable food. [WUSA 9]

Shoplifting Suspect Flees Down Metro Tracks — Metro trains were temporarily shut down near the Pentagon City station Tuesday night after a shoplifting suspect jumped on the tracks in an attempt to get away. The man, who’s accused of shoplifting from the Nordstom’s in Pentagon City, was eventually caught by Metro Transit Police. [NBC Washington]

Hope Wants Insurance Exchange — Arlington’s Del. Patrick Hope (D) is one of the Democratic lawmakers hoping to pass a law to create a state-run health insurance exchange during the new General Assembly session in Richmond. All states are to have an insurance exchange in place by the end of 2013 under the Obama health care plan. “It will allow small businesses and individuals the opportunity to leverage similar to or even greater resources than that of large employers, using that clout to drive better pricing, choices and quality,” Hope said. [Roanoke Times]

Yoga, Pilates, Spinning in ClarendonMind the Mat, a new yoga and Pilates studio, opened in Clarendon this week. The studio, at 3300B Fairfax Drive, is offering free classes this week. Meanwhile Revolve, an indoor cycling studio that opened at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon late last year, is holding its official grand opening celebration tonight from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Correction to Item Yesterday — A Morning Notes item yesterday erroneously stated that County Board member Walter Tejada was seeking the creation of a proposed Office of Latino Affairs in Arlington. In fact it’s BU-GATA, a tenants-rights organization, that is proposing the office’s creation. Tejada told ARLnow.com that he supports improving services for Latino residents, but doesn’t think the creation of a separate county department is necessarily the best way to go about it. “I don’t think it’s the thing to do,” he said. ARLnow.com regrets the error.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

  • Soarlslacker

    What will the county licensing fee be for chickens, more or less than that for dogs? Will rabies vaccines and other veterinary measures be required for chickens kept in the county? Will the chickens be required to wear vaccine tags and licensing tags? Like the issue of more than 3 dogs requires a special kennel license, will chicken owners be restricted to 3 chickens without a zoning variance? Can neighbors sue their chicken owning neighbors for the loss in property value when the yard next door reeks of chicken poop and makes a home unsellable? Everyone likes fresh food. If I like fresh beef can I keep cattle in my yard? How about if I like deer, can I keep deer? Some folks like bear meat, can I keep a bear? I would think that if your goal is to be a chicken farmer that you might move outside the beltway to an area where land is inexpensive enough that your neighbors do not have to smell the wretched chicken poop.

    • BoredHouseWife

      back in the day chicken houses were common in arlington

      today they have rolling chicken pens.
      one can fertilize their lawn w/o the use of that monsanto poison.

      no roosters.

      • Cluckster

        Back in the day roads were not paved, we pulled buggies with horses, and there was a telegraph and AM radio.

        • Abe

          The only station we had here when I was growing up was just Edison reciting the alphabet over and over. He would say “A”, then “B”. “C” would usually follow…

        • Zoning Victim

          And back in the day, the government stayed of people’s private lives. Ahhh, the good ole days.

          • Cluckster

            Did they? You should read a little about FDR and farming.

          • Zoning Victim

            Haha, touché, but my “back in the day when the government stayed out of people’s private lives” goes back to before the New Deal. I realize there has always been some form of government control, but telling people what kind of birds they can have and that they can own a humongous dog but not a pot-bellied pig seems absurd.

          • Cluckster

            It is, to a point. Certainly public health and safety have to be regulated. We would all likely agree a mountain lion is not something that should be kept in an Arlington yard. Chickens are in a hazy area, and there is certainly good reason to debate on both sides. Some, like me, will not want to noise and pollution. Others will want the benefit they bring. If I want an egg, I’ll just go down to the market and don’t need to listen to the clucking or (potentially) smell the chicken crap.

          • madisonmanor

            Given the choice between chickens and the late-night noise frat boys that live next door who are anything but neighborly, I’ll take the chickens any day. It’s pretty sad that I have to consider building a manure/compost pile on the border between our yards to keep them off the patio just so I can sleep because the county’s noise ordinance is unenforceable.

          • madisonmanor, if you built a chicken poop compost pile you could keep them away with the stench.

          • Josh S

            Do you mean like in 1789 when President Washington rode at the head of a 15,000 man army to supress the Whiskey Rebellion?

            Or were thinking farther back when most people were nothing more than serfs, bound to their lord for all things, including the right to marry, etc.

            Perhaps you had the Aztecs in mind, when you might find your oldest daughter selected for sacrifice to the Gods?

            Spare us your dreamy recollection of a mythological time and place.

        • drax

          And nobody died in massive rat attacks.

          • Although I bet the Chiuauas are terrified.

          • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

            I am guessing that you never saw “Willard”…….

    • Zoning Victim

      Don’t be a birdbrain (terrible pun, I know); only mammals get rabies. In answer to the next silly question, “but what about BIRD FLU?” there is no strain of bird flu that can be passed to humans and if the bird flu ever did mutate into an airborne virus that humans can contract, it’d be passed human to human far more than bird to human.

      The county already allows people to keep chickens, but I’m sure if Arlington lets people keep chickens on smaller lots, there will be all kinds of inane regulations and plenty of money collected in the name of caring for the greater public good. Maybe we can get the county to build us a $1,000,000 chicken park where we can let our chickens roam at large for exercise with the money they collect for the chicken license.

      We should really look at stopping people from keeping fish before we have to start allowing people to keep man-eating sharks for pets. Besides, if people want to live with fish, they should just move to a lake, and it’s impossible to keep the fish licenses around their necks. And composting, we should totally stop people from composting their food and lawn waste, because if you stand right next to it, it stinks, and if we allow private composting, they we’ll have to allow people to open up a dump right on their property, besides if people want to compost food waste, they can just move to the dump. Dogs? We should outlaw them too, because if people can keep dogs, then we’ll have to allow pet wolves and coyotes and bears; oh my! And think of the smell, dogs not only poop a lot (more than any chicken on average, that’s for sure), but they fart, too, and we all know methane is a greenhouse gas; dogs are terrible for the environment. Furthermore, I have it on good word that most people are way too stupid to take care of a dog.

      • Richard Cranium

        Will children be allowed in the chicken parks? Will chickens be required to be on-leash when not in the park? Inquiring minds want to know!

        • Bluemontsince1961

          LOL! Good one!

      • Josh S

        Man, you really like the sound of your own voice, don’t you?

        • Zoning Victim

          You’re being pretty childish lately, Josh. I’ll leave it at that.

        • Pot meet kettle

          He almost writes as much on this site as you do, man.

  • TGEoA

    Hoo will inspect the eggs?

  • Set the Controls

    I spread 80 pounds of chicken poop on my lawn every fall and it smells, no doubt, but for only two days. Chickens producing far less will not create a nuisance with their poop.

    • Cluckster

      Let’s see. When there is fresh chicken poop on your lawn it smells. When it gets washed into the soil it doesn’t. Yet, having chickens around all the time will mean there will always be fresh chicken poop. Your neighbors will absolutely love you.

      • Zoning Victim

        You’ve obviously never stood near a chicken coop, or if you did, it was a commercial farm or something. Small numbers of chickens don’t stink any more than a couple of dogs, which means not at all unless you actually purposely smell their poop, and poop stops smelling long before it gets washed into the ground.

        • Cluckster

          When I sit out on my deck with a beer, or sleep with the window cracked, I’ll smell the chicken feces and hear the clucking. My prediction is bbgun sales will increase county wide.

          • Just stick to picking off those chickens. If you start taking out windows, potted plants, or shoot at my dog then you’ll have some real trouble coming your way.

  • Stoneride Knoll

    No report on the long Comcast cable outage? It seems whenever they try to upgrade a premium service, basic cable goes kaboom. Our service was out all day Wednesday.

    • BoredHouseWife

      we have internet thru comcast
      tv thru direct tv
      comcast used to be a decent tv cable service but they have just turned to crap. but it may be the aging cable system mixed in bwith their crappy refurbished boxes.

    • Soarlslacker

      Who uses Comcast? Directv since 1998! All the folks on my street that use Comcast have a Comcast truck there once a month. The only thing better than Durectv is the Verizen wireless Internet service.

  • DarkHeart

    Will the chickens need flu shots?

  • Cluck.

    It looks like people support chickens in Arlington. WJLA did a poll yesterday, here are the results: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/01/chickens-in-arlington-county-backyards-yes-or-no-poll–71292.html

    • Lou

      Sorry, that’s not how laws get changed.

      • Cluckster

        Come on. This is Arlington!

        • Zoning Victim

          Right, which means that Lou is correct because laws here get changed by unanimous vote and without regard to what the population of Arlington wants.

          • Cluckster

            I was speaking in jest.

          • Zoning Victim

            Hah, I know; I was, too…

    • bringmetheyuppies

      Thanks for posting the poll. Looks like the tide had turned to a BIG FAT NO for the frickin chickens. My neighbors can’t even take care of their dogs, what the hell makes you think they would take care of a flock of hens?

  • JamesE

    Can we get some farm raised venison in this county and then have a restaurant right next door?

  • John Fontain

    This backyard hen thing is complete nonsense. I’m not even sure that the guy leading the effort is serious.

    Saying backyard hens are necessary for fresh eggs is not true. The eggs at local retailers are plenty fresh. And if you want fresher eggs than that, go to the local famers markets or buy eggs from the many people in the community who distribute eggs from Sunnyside Farm.


    • +10

    • OX4

      I really don’t care if someone wants a hen or not. To each his own. But this article from the Post is pretty entertaining: “People’s perception of egg flavor is mostly psychological…”


      • Zoning Victim

        Hah, too funny. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between an egg that’s right at it’s best before date and a fresh one, though, but that does take quite some time. The article certainly proves how important presentation is.

    • Zoning Victim

      No, it’s not necessary for fresh eggs, and eggs are probably at least as inexpensive in the grocery store as it would be to keep the chickens yourself. If we limited ourselves to only what was necessary, life would be pretty boring.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Self involved Arlington yuppie nonsense. If you want to keep chickens move the country.

    • Zoning Victim

      Actually, the self-involved yuppies are usually the ones that don’t want chickens around, and the only ones who could actually afford the amount of property one needs to legally have a chicken coop in Arlington under the current zoning regulations.

      • drax


        Yuppies aren’t smart enough to handle backyard chickens.

      • ArlingtonWay

        Maybe we could allow chicken coops at the new year round homeless shelter. The homeless could take care of the chickens for their room and board, eat some of the eggs, and each could blame the smell oeach other. Synergy!!!

    • OX4

      I don’t think you know what “yuppie” means. Perhaps you’re thinking of “hippie.”

  • JamesE

    Give me chickens or give me death

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    Thank you Patrick Hope for being a true leader and statesman. Thank you.

  • drax

    Some apologies to Tejada from some posters here are in order. But not forthcoming.

    • Josh S

      Facts don’t matter.

      It’s a personal attack.

  • chicken neighbor

    Our next door neighbor had chickens (illegally). Nobody cared. The kids in the neighborhood liked them. Get over it, people.

    • Donna

      Thank you, chicken neighbor, well lets say 99% of the neighbors liked it. Only one didn’t and he is going around telling his tragic story?

  • law abider

    The Ecuadorian family next to me had chickens several years ago. They reeked to high heaven and during that time was the only time we ever saw rats in and around our yard. I think they might have also had a goat for a while. “Somebody” in the neighborhood called the police about it, and things got worked out.

    • DarkHeart

      Goats are good eatin’. Also pretty good crime deterrent.

  • notrural

    More work for code enforcement (noise and smells) and health inspectors (rat infestations). Enjoy those eggs. And, by the way, what’s the plan for when the chickens get older and stop producing. Stir fry?

    • John Fontain

      Chicken rescue leagues so everyone can feel better about themselves.

  • JamesE

    If they county allows chicken coops perhaps they could legalize cockfighting and tax the earnings.

  • HughJassPhD

    The main issue with the chickens are that they attract rats.

    • BoredHouseWife

      but see you can get cats to take of the rats
      and rat terriers

  • Dee Bunker

    I grew up on a farm and I can tell you that chickens poop is nasty. And if roosters are also allowed, everyone in the neighborhood will be awoken at dawn with their crowing.

  • John Andre

    Though all warm-bloodedanimals may contract rabies, chickens rarely get infected.

    Bird flu is another matter. Chickens can get it and it’s possible a strain infective for humans could develop, especially if one or more pot bellied pigs are in the area. The reason why new flu strains often arise in South China is because farmers there keep fowl [chiefly ducks] and pigs in close proximity to humans. It’s easier for flu virus to jump from birds to pigs to humans than for it to jump directly from birds.

  • Chicken Buster

    Dogs and chickens living together… mass hysteria.



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