THERE ARE AN INCREASING NUMBER OF ALABAMA CITY DWELLERS RAISING CHICKENS IN THEIR BACKYARDS.
THEY DO IT PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE FRESH EGGS THE CHICKS LAY, AND PERHAPS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THEIR INNER FARMER.
BUT IN MANY CITIES IT'S BANNED.
HERE AT FARMER'S FEED AND SUPPLY IN MONTGOMERY YOU CAN BUY CHICKEN FEED AND CHICKEN MEDICINES.... . .. AND YES, THE CHICKS THEMSELVES. BUT IF YOU RAISE THEM WITHIN THE MONTGOMERY CITY LIMITS. YOU RISK ARREST.
When I started this story ithought it would be tongue in cheek...we'd find some people who have a coop and keep chickens in their backyard in the city and we'd treat it kinda tongue in cheek..we'd pixilate their faces and change their voices to make sure nobody can recognize them........but the reality is, i couldn't find anybody who WOULD talk on camera. They really ARE worried because, well, technically, it's illegal.
"at first it was a big secret, but after a while my friends and neighbors got to know more about it, they came to love it..."
WE'LL CALL HIM PATRICK---HE'S A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL WITH A FAMILY IN A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN AN UPSCALE MONTGOMERY NEIGHBORHOOD. WE AGREED NOT TO SHOW HIS FACE AND TO DISGUISE HIS VOICE...
"they don't make any noise...most of the dogs in the neighborhood are louder than any of these birds are."
AND JUST TO BE SAFE, WE CONSIDERED PIXILATING THE FACES OF HIS BIRDS TOO.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO HIDE DEBBBIE BURLINGAME'S IDENTITY....
"i knew when i started my project that i was kinda going against the rules technically, i wanted to be a test case..i wanted to do it right and show the neighborhood how wonderfull it could be, and perhaps they would change their bylaws...."
DEBBIE DOESN'T MIND BEING ON CAMERA NOW BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T HAVE CHICKENS ANY MORE. THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION IN "THE WATERS" IN PIKE ROAD FORCED HER TO GET RID OF THEM. CHICKENS ARE A VIOLATION OF THE H-O-A RULES:
as far as I know there was only one person who complained but he kept up a campaign for nine months to get the management team to get rid of my chickens...he won and i lost."
BURLINGAME GAVE HER BIRDS TO FRIENDS IN TUSKEGEE...SHE GOES TO GOES TO VISIT AND SAYS THEY COME RUNNING WHEN THEY HEAR HER VOICE.
BACK IN MONTGOMERY, "PATRICK" TELLS US HIS CHICKENS PRODUCE DOZENS OF EGGS A WEEK:
"...the eggs are delicious..you can't get this kind of egg at a grocery store...you can get them at a farmer's market, and I've brought the farmer's market to my backyard...".
BUT HE'S CAREFULL NOT TO LET THE WRONG PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HIS BIRDS.
THEY'RE QUIET...AND SO IS HE.... WORRIED THAT A NEIGHBOR WILL COMPLAIN.... AND HE'LL END UP LIKE DEBBY IN PIKE ROAD...FORCED TO FIND RURAL FOSTER PARENTS.
In February, Montgomery's city council considered a new ordinance allowing a limited number of chickens in single family backyards...but the council took no action. So for now you'll have to get your eggs the oid fashioned way...at a grocery store. And if you have chickens...Shhhhhh!...don't tell a soul.
IT'S IRONIC THAT THERE ARE REGULATIONS BANNING BACKYARD CHICKENS IN ALABAMA...THE STATE IS ONE OF THE LAREGST POULTRY PRODUCERS IN AMERICA. COMMERCIAL GROWERS HERE RAISE ONE AND A THIRD OF A BILLION CHICKENS A YEAR.