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Waukee, IA anyone working on this?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Right now Waukee, IA doesn't allow "farm animals" but our neighbors in West Des Moines can have whatever they want as long as it's not "running at large", Des Moines can have up to 30 birds in a lot under an acre as long as they are 25 feet from all residence.  Windsor Heights gets 2 hens under the same restriction as Des Moines.  Johnston is no "running at large". 


I want to change the law in Waukee, but have no idea where to start and am afraid to go it alone.  Is anyone in the area working on this or wanting to do this?  I'm not a public speaker by any means, so getting up in front to the council, for me at least, probably isn't going to happen.

post #2 of 19

I'm not sure how to do this but you might want to try this group. They may be able to help you??

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

I did just join that group, but they don't have a great message board, and don't seem super active.  Besides, Des Moines has allowed chickens for years and years and years, so I semi-doubt anyone there will really know how to go about getting the Ords changed.  I think I'm going to email a proposed Ord to the city council and go from there....hmmmm

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Well....I went ahead and shot off a letter to the mayor and council.  We'll see what comes of it!  Below is what I sent, I used someone here's passed proposal to frame up much of it...I wish I could remember who it was, but I'm sure they'll recognize their handy work and pipe up!  (Please!) 


Dear Mayor and Members of the Council


I respectfully request that the Council consider and find that a small number of hens, kept properly confined in their owner’s yard, be a variance in the current law governing livestock. The current zoning law states: No farm animals, including and not limited to horses, cattle, sheep, swine, or fowl shall be kept within the city limits of the City of Waukee, except in A-1 District or A-2 Annexation District on tracts of one (1) or more acres.  My hope is that you'll change this ordinance to something within the scope the example listed at the bottom of this email.


Across the country, urban and suburban areas are allowing small backyard flocks of hens.  Major cities allowing hens include New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Baltimore.  Des Moines, and West Des Moines are two very close communities that allow the keeping of hens.


Owners of hens prize them as any other pet.  Some for their personality, others for their heritage and others for their colors and patterns.  Hens, unlike roosters, are friendly, entertaining, and quiet. 


Hens are also part of some citizens’ wish to live a “greener” lifestyle.  They readily eat table scraps (keeping them from ending up in landfills), are a natural insect control of lawns, and also provide eggs for the family they live with. 


Adult hens thrive in a pen that provides a 3-4 square foot dwelling with 10 square feet of run.  The small unassuming pen is about the size of a large doghouse.


I would like to allow my daughter, and other children of Waukee, the experience of raising hens to demonstrate green living, showing them where their food originated, and the responsibility of caring for this extraordinary animal.  


I respectfully request a clarification for poultry livestock, to allow for small flock hens be kept in the yards of the citizens of Waukee. 


Below is a model ordinance designed for the Council to consider in either adopting or to use as a starting point when deciding whether to allow hens in the city and how to regulate them:

Purpose. The following regulations will govern the keeping of chickens and are designed to prevent nuisances and prevent conditions that are unsanitary or unsafe. No person shall keep chickens unless the following
regulations are followed:

a. Number. No more than six (6) hens shall be allowed for each single-family dwelling.

b. Setbacks. Coops or cages housing chickens shall be kept at least twenty-five (25) feet from the door or window of any dwelling or occupied structure other than the owner’s dwelling. Coops and cages shall not be located within five (5) feet of a sideyard lot line, nor within eighteen (18) inches of a rear-yard lot line. Coops and cages shall not be located in the front yard.


c. Enclosure. Hens shall be provided with a covered, predator-proof coop or cage that is well ventilated and designed to be easily accessed for cleaning. The coop shall allow at least two square feet per hen. Hens shall have access to an outdoor enclosure that is adequately fenced to contain the birds on the property and to prevent predators from access to the birds. Hens shall not be allowed out of these enclosures unless a responsible individual, over 18 years of age, is directly monitoring the hens and able to immediately return the hens to the cage or coop if necessary.


d. Sanitation. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be kept in a sanitary condition and free from offensive odors. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of waste.


e. Slaughtering. There shall be no outdoor slaughtering of chickens.


f. Roosters. It is unlawful for any person to keep roosters.



post #5 of 19

I thought maybe you could have email the person that ran that meetup, hoping they could have given you some direction.

I seen they are supposed to have a meeting this month. I'm not a member of it as I don't own any chickens,I just ran across it one day and found it interesting that they had such a thing here in our area.

Good Luck on the proposal I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.

Let us know what happens.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

I did post on their message board, no responses yet though.  I also haven't had a response to the email I sent the mayor and council.  I'll be emailing them again on Sunday night (same email) since they have a council meeting on Monday (I wont be able to make it though sad.png ).   I'm just kinda taking things slow and letting the idea build while I try to find more supporters. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Started this as well.....I have a feeling I'm going to end up being the one doing the public speaking....GULP!

post #8 of 19

I feel for you. I hate speaking in public too! Hopefully you will find someone when the time comes. I don't live in Waukee or I would come support you.  I am a close neighbor living in Grimes.  If you get the law changed and find some eggs I would hatch them for you, if you go that route. big_smile.png

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Now I'm not sure what direction to go.....   I got contacted by a very nice lady today, and she informed me that she would love to help me in my fight for making chickens legal (yeah!) but she's had a large (18 hen) flock for 2 years now, is friends with the Mayor and she's been told by the Mayor and Police department that as long as no one complains they aren't going to do a darn thing.....bigger fish to fry and all.   So the Mayor and the Police KNOW she has chickens...and don't care.   The KNOW other people have chickens...and don't care.   As long as their are no complaints.


So do I keep fighting the fight?   Or do I shut up and just go ahead with my plans and pass out eggs every once in a while, while making sure my girls stay as quiet and clean as possible?


What would you do in my situation?

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