The Arlington Egg Project is seeking a change in Arlington ordinances so that residents can keep backyard hens. Hens make nice pets. They also can provide healthy, organic, home-grown eggs for food. Despite these attractions, the Ode Street Tribune does not support Arlington Egg Project's proposal as it is currently formulated.
The Arlington Egg Project's home page declares:
The ultimate objective of the Arlington Egg Project is the modification of Arlington County ordinances so residents can keep a limited number of backyard hens, while prohibiting roosters, and ensuring secure, proper, and humane enclosures for hens. [emphasis in the original]While roosters differ in important ways from hens, roosters are also attractive and valuable animals. Roosters provide natural alarm clocks that automatically adjust for changes in daylight hours. Having roosters thus helps to decrease the use of electric lights and fosters energy conservation. Many hens, moreover, enjoy associating at least occasionally with a rooster. Long experience has also proved that having both roosters and hens prompts storks to put baby chickens inside eggs. Hence, if they keep roosters as well as hens, residents will enjoy not only a home-grown supply of eggs, but also a home-grown supply of chickens.
Princess and Rosé, two hens from Bluemont, Virginia, were at this year's excellent Arlington County Fair. In an exclusive interview with an Ode Street Tribune reporter, Princess and Rosé clucked that they would relish an occasional tryst with a rooster.
The Rosslyn neighborhood is home to many fine horses in the Fort Myer stables, early morning and late evening bugle playing, as well as the occasional bagpiper, and has an extraordinarily rich traditional of males serving their neighbors and their country. Roosters are quieter than planes passing overhead, and roosters make more charming noise. Hens and roosters would make Rosslyn's diverse urban-rural neighborhood even better.
Allowing only hens in Arlington would be discriminatory, exclusionary, and cruel. Arlington County should change its ordinances to allow hens and roosters.