By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Apr 20, 2009 at 1:30 PM

How much do you love chicken? No, not dead, barbequed and stuffed between a bun -- that wouldn't fly too well here. We're talking about the kind that is alive, living harmoniously with humans in the city.

If you're thinking that's illegal, you're wrong. In 2004 Madison passed a law allowing single-family homes the right to raise poultry in the backyard -- it used to be only legal to keep them indoors -- although it's limited to four hens and no roosters (and you thought that howling dog down the block was annoying...)

And no, butchering is not allowed.

Originally known as the poultry underground (yeah, that's right), the pro-poultry group responsible for the law is called Mad City Chickens, and its goal is to "educate the urban population on the benefits of raising ones own food, and to bring to light the misconceptions people might have about the raising of poultry in an urban setting."

To facilitate this, members of the group Robert Lughai and Tashai Lovington made a full-length documentary called "Mad City Chickens" and are taking it on tour. The film makes a Milwaukee stop on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22 to screen at the Spring Film Festival at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Brewery Palm Gardens, 1855 Commerce St.

Could this be the return of the urban backyard chicken?


Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”