Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Why did the chicken cross 60th Street?

Chicken ordinance, Wauwatosa, Common Council, Eschweiler Buildings

The invisible wall at 60th Street that separates Wauwatosa from, well, That Other Place, has been breached again, raising concerns about the city’s security.

Only this time, it’s a chicken, whose Milwaukee owner or owners were really too “irresponsible” for the privilege of chicken-owning. Probably they were single mothers, too, and we all know that alone is grounds for declaring chicken neglect.

Not that anyone is stepping up to provide foster lodgings. Though I’m told a woman in Mad City, home of all sorts of irresponsible hope-and-dreamy sorts, will rescue any chicken! She probably has scores and scores of them, and someone's probably cooking up an ordinance to ban excess broods, especially if overseen by single women.

(If any chickens are reading this, I apologize for the use of "cooking up," but I'm sure you are used to it by now.)

While our alders are debating chicken ordinances, I propose they write one to provide one-way tickets out of town for interlopers to keep our streets clear of the menace of border-crossing chickens.

Alder Dennis McBride, who is one of my favorite council people ever but who may be stressed by his new responsibilities as council president, is very troubled by the prospect of chickens in Tosa. “I’d rather keep police officers and fire fighters than have fresh eggs,” he exclaimed.

Who knew that the city’s budget deliberations were so serious that they were considering replacing essential services with commercial agricultural operations?

If they do “go there,” I have the perfect location: the Eschweiler Buildings on the County Grounds. What better use for an old ag school that’s been neglected by all but birds, vermin, SWAT teams, and vandals? A little bit of ruin shouldn’t put the chickens off their laying. Let Tosa's chickens finally come home to roost there!

The “more staff” McBride and others are worried about would pay for themselves by proper husbandry. Throw in a few beef cattle and you might even have a profit center!

As to backyard chickens, I’m guessing the burden in regulation would not be so vast as we fear. And most of the people who’d want them would be on my western side of town, where you’d hardly notice as long as you banned roosters. They are noisy and more likely than the females to stray across the borders.

Come to think of it,  the next step toward safety might be limiting numbers of males of all species in our town.  Except, of course, for occasional ceremonial events that I blush to describe.

(I will admit that the idea of my chickens braving Underwood Creek to illegally enter Elm Grove and find underpaid labor there is one of the reasons I long to become a chicken lady. . .)

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