Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Backyard Chickens, Backyard Homesteading, Critters, From the Mailbag, Local Government, Reader Contributions

From time to time I have to remind myself to check the old mail bag.  If you were to email the staff here at  Gas Pains ( there is a reasonably good chance someone might pick-up your message within the next week or so.  It's a small staff but we are committed to eventually responding - so your forbearance is appreciated. 

Lest you be hesitant to contact us with a question or a comment I would also point out that your anonymity is assured.  Unlike the resident constitutional conservative over at the Brookfield home page we here at Gas Pains have a deep and abiding respect for the First Amendment.  You have our solemn guarantee -  we will not fink on you.  Just think of us as your cyber confessional.  We strive to be exceedingly circumspect. 

This is just another reason why Tosa Rules and Brookfield Drools.

Anyway, a number of weeks ago a reader sent the following email:

From: anon chicken <>
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 3:12 PM
Subject: Chickens in Wauwatosa?

Good day Sir,

I like your most recent blog post title: Barbecue, Gunpowder and Testosterone.  Good post.  I'll check back to read your other stuff.  I used to live out on a farm by Baraboo and I miss being able to go out the back door and shoot things. 

But the reason I'm writing you is related to my desire to be in the country.   I woke up the other day and decided I was going to try to get Chicken-raising legal in Tosa.   If you don't have any roosters, chickens are quiet critters and they don't smell-- and of course, delicious. It seems to me that we tax-payers of  Wauwatosa deserve the right to raise chickens and I'm hoping to get in touch with a whole bunch of folks and maybe get a petition going or figure out a way to get a referendum on a ballot or something.  I'm in the preliminary stages and I'm writing to as many people as I can to spark interest.

I set up a
Face book page and a blog so that I can provide information about Backyard Chickens and to connect with other people.  I also starteda blog for general information about what I'm trying to do.  Check out these new sites.  I'll be adding information daily.  I hope you're interested in the idea and look forward to hearing from you!


Tosa Chicken...

The celebration of Schützenfest is a big deal among my hunting and shooting brethren.  Thanks for reading and the kind words.  I like the notion of going out the backdoor to shoot things too.  If I am working remotely at my day job from the farm it's nice to take a break from the phone and computer, give the dog an opportunity to stretch her legs and do some wing shooting.  Having taken many such breaks -  Girlfriend and I have returned with pheasant, grouse, woodcock and doves.  With the blonde dog in the line-up this fall it will only get better.  It is all so much better than sipping coffee in the company kitchen, no?  Of course, a city dweller could do something quieter but similar.  Such as tending to their chickens.

Your email is timely.  We should collaborate.  I would be willing to support your ambitious plans whether it is by petition, referendum or extralegal means.  Heck, anybody running for mayor that supports chickens stands a better than even chance of winning my coveted endorsement.  

Did you know that there are a large number of underground chicken sympathizers here in Tosa?  Yes,  consider yourself among friends.  Advancing the cause may be easier than you think.

Allow me to introduce you to Henrietta.

Visualize a spare dog crate drafted into service as a chicken hutch in a comfy Tosa garage.  Fresh eggs follow.  There is no mess or rubbish.  Seriously, compared to picking-up the deposits of a couple of Labrador retrievers a chicken is a cinch to clean-up after.  As you have correctly pointed-out - no rooster - no noise.  And as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler the chicken will be converted into a fryer or roaster.  

Just like this-


Next spring a batch of fluffy yellow chicks from the farm co-op starts the process all over again.

You can't have chickens in Wauwatosa!  You are a violator. You are a bad person.  A lawbreaker!  You backyard chicken people should be arrested and find yourselves chilling your heels in the slammer!

I suppose that is true.  But before that happens someone would have to pry my fingers from my cold, dead, beer can chicken.

You see, we backyard chicken people are a closely-knit bunch.  We look out for one another and enforce a strict code of silence.  This is how we can outwardly appear to be forthright and upstanding citizens while at the same time skirting the law.

Huh? What's that all-about?

Don't be silly.  It is really quite simple.  All you have to do is follow this simple equation:

violation+arrest+incarceration=seal you lips  

You have to keep a really, really, tight lid on your shenanigans and if nobody hears about it for six months or so - then just like magic - poof!  It is as if it never even happened.  

Trust me.  This is what chicken people do.

So, Tosa Chicken, here is my advice to you.  Be mindful of the fact that the Council and the other rulers over at The Palace are up to their elbows in issues.  For starters there is a deficit hole of $8 million dollarsPlus there is the bill for an additional $8.5 million after coming-up on the short end of a lawsuit.  

Holy bank bags Batman!  That's not chicken feed!  That's real money!

It gets better. The biggest proponent of giving our future mayors a big fat salary and benefits now suffers from a self-inflicted loss of gravitas.

Between you and me I think that Tosa government is going to be distracted for a spell.  In a manner of speaking they have bigger chickens to fry.  I would suggest that you go ahead and raise your chickens next spring just like the rest of us.  And if you keep it on the sly my prediction is that since the enforcers of the rules have demonstrated a rather high tolerance for mischief amongst themselves they will pretty much leave you alone.

After-all, what are they going to do?  Throw you in jail over a chicken or two?   

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